Canada: At least 16 people killed after mass shooting in Nova Scotia
At least 16 people have been killed in a mass shooting in Nova Scotia, in what is the deadliest such attack in Canada’s history.
The suspected gunman was dressed as a police officer – and the shootings took place over 12 hours in the rural town of Portapique.
One of those killed was Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a married mother of two children.
A second officer was injured.
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.”
The rampage began on Saturday night in Portapique, about 80 miles north of Halifax, and police told residents to lock their homes and stay inside.
There were also reports of burning buildings and police vehicles on fire, but these were not officially confirmed.
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.
Police said the suspect Gabriel Wortman, 51, had killed people in several other locations but they did not confirm his motive.
Chris Leather, the Nova Scotia RCMP’s criminal operations officer, said Wortman had been seen wearing a police uniform but it was not clear whether he had been disguised as an officer during the shootings.
Wortman was arrested at a petrol station, but he later died. Reports that he was shot dead by police were not officially confirmed.
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.”
The shooting has been described as the worst act of mass murder in Canada since a gunman killed 15 women in Montreal in 1989.
Lee Bergerman, commanding officer of the RCMP in Nova Scotia, said it would “remain etched in the minds for many years to come”.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “My heart goes out to everyone affected in what is a terrible situation”.
Police had said the suspect was driving what appeared to be a police car but later said he was believed to be in a small, silver Chevrolet SUV.
They confirmed he was not a police employee.
He is instead listed as a denturist in Dartmouth, according to the Denturist Society of Nova Scotia website.
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