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Seventeen people, including RCMP officer, dead in shooting rampage, deadliest in Canadian history

Last Updated Apr 19, 2020 at 8:34 pm PDT

Summary

A suspect and an RCMP officer are dead after a lengthy police chase in Nova Scotia

Mounties say at least 17 people were killed in the shooting spree

The suspect led police on a lengthy chase that started Saturday night into Sunday morning

HALIFAX (NEWS 1130) – Mounties say at least 17 people, including an RCMP officer and the suspect, were killed in a mass shooting that triggered a lengthy police chase in Nova Scotia this weekend.

It was the deadliest shooting in Canadian history.

“Our important investigational work is continuing,” the RCMP said in an email to NEWS 1130. “Out of respect for the families who have yet to be notified, we cannot provide any additional information at this time.”

The RCMP identified Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force and a mother of two, as the officer who was killed in the incident.

“Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served,” commanding RCMP officer Lee Bergerman said. “Two children have lost their mother, and a husband has lost his wife. Parents have lost their daughter, and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague.”

Another officer sustained non-life threatening injuries, Bergerman added.

The suspect, who was identified by the RCMP as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, died on Sunday at the Enfield, N.S. gas station, about 35 kilometres northwest of downtown Halifax.

He’s said to have, at one point, worn a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser during the killing spree.

RCMP Superintendent Chris Leather said police were first responding to a firearms call on Saturday night.

“Members located several casualties inside and outside of the home,” Leather explained. “They did not, however, locate the suspect. This was a very quickly evolving situation and a chaotic scene.”

The scene was surrounded by a half dozen police vehicles. Yellow police tape surrounded the gas pumps, and a large silver-coloured SUV was being investigated by police.

Mounties caught up with the suspect the next day.

Leather said the investigation was still in its early stages, but noted the impacts of what took place have already been devastating.

“I can tell you an excess of 10 people have been killed, but the investigation is still ongoing and I expect to have more details in that regard in the coming days,” he said Sunday.

“The impact of this incident will extend from one end of the province to the other,” Bergerman added. “As Nova Scotians, we have to do what we’re known for an come together in times of need and support each other.”

A statement from National Police Federation president Brian Sauvé dedicated thoughts to the slain officer’s family and friends.

The union said representatives are in the Halifax area to support members and families, and thanked members involved in the chase for resolving the attack.

“Our hearts are heavy with grief and sadness today as we have lost one of our own. Our thoughts go out to our Member’s family and friends,” Sauvé said.

“Our heartfelt gratitude and thanks to the Members involved in the manhunt and the timely resolution to this violent attack. Your efforts and selflessness in this situation are heroic, invaluable and have kept others in the community safe.”

Meanwhile, Premier Stephen McNeil offered condolences to “families of the victims” and called the incident “one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history.”

“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,” McNeil said in Halifax at a previously scheduled news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Words cannot console the families affected by what has transpired over the last 24 hours.”

McNeil urged the province to remain united.

“We’re all in shock that such a thing could happen here in Nova Scotia, and there’s a heavy burden to bear on top of COVID-19. But now more than ever we must stay strong together,” he said.

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent out his condolences, calling what happened “senseless violence.”

“As a country, in moments like these, we come together to support one another,” Trudeau’s statement reads. “Together we will mourn with the families of the victims, and help them get through this difficult time.”