The shooting near the city of Halifax is thought to be Canada’s worst act of mass murder in three decades.
HALIFAX Canada (Agencies) – At least 16 people have been killed in a mass shooting in Nova Scotia. So far, the deadliest attack in Canada’s history. The suspected gunman, Gabriel Wortman, was a 51-year-old denturist, dressed as a police officer and had disguised his car to look like a police vehicle.
According to police reports, Wortman killed multiple people in several locations over a 12-hour period across the rural town of Portapique, including Heidi Stevenson, from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who was killed in a shooting in Nova Scotia.
Some of his victims were not known to him. Wortman was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at a gas station, but later on it was reported by the police he had died.
It is mentioned -not officially confirmed- that Wortman was shot dead by officers. Witnesses manifested that the police and the suspect exchanged shots. Police have not yet provided a motive for the attack, but have said the case is not being investigated as terrorism.
RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said that a possible link to the closure of non-essential businesses due to the coronavirus outbreak would be looked at.
“We believe it to be one person who is responsible for all the killings and that he alone moved across the northern part of the province and committed what appears to be several homicides.”
He said the fact that Wortman had a uniform and car “at his disposal certainly speaks to it not being a random act”.
One of the people killed was Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the RCMP and a married mother-of-two. A second officer was injured. “Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served,” said Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman, in a Facebook post.
Brian Sauve, president of the National Police Federation union, said: “Our hearts are heavy with grief and sadness today as we have lost one of our own.”
RCMP officers stand on Portapique Beach Road after Gabriel Wortman, a suspected shooter, was taken into custody and was later reported deceased according to local media, in Portapique, Nova Scotia, Canada April 19, 2020
Reports of burning buildings in the town.
One of the town’s residents, Christine Mills, said armed officers had been patrolling the town’s streets and helicopters were also used to search for the suspect.
“It’s nerve-racking because you don’t know if somebody has lost their mind and is going to beat in your front door,” she said.
RCMP officer Cedric Landry releases a dog to a man at the checkpoint onto Portapique Beach Road after Gabriel Wortman, a suspected shooter, was taken into custody in Portapique, Nova Scotia, Canada April 19, 2020
Nova Scotia’s premier Stephen McNeil described the shooting as “one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history”. He added: “I never imagined when I went to bed last night that I would wake up to the horrific news that an active shooter was on the loose in Nova Scotia.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “My heart goes out to everyone affected in what is a terrible situation”.
It is the deadliest shooting since a gunman killed 14 women in Montreal in 1989, a tragedy that resulted in an overhaul of Canada’s gun laws. It is illegal to possess an unregistered handgun or any kind of rapid-fire weapon and to buy a weapon requires training, a risk assessment, two references, spousal notification and criminal record checks.
The largest act of murder in Canadian history was when 268 Canadians were among 329 people who died in 1985 when an Air India plane was brought down by a bomb over the Atlantic.
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