At least 16 killed in Canada rampage, suspect dead
published : 20 Apr 2020 at 07:45
MONTREAL: A gunman who drove a mock-up police car killed at least 16 people in an Atlantic Canada shooting rampage, federal police said, the worst case of its kind in Canadian history.
The shooter, identified as Gabriel Wortman, 51, was shot dead by officers after a 12-hour manhunt in Nova Scotia province ended on Sunday morning.
Among the victims was a veteran female constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which also handles municipal and provincial law enforcement in the province.
Police said the suspect had been on the run since Saturday night, when officers were alerted to shots fired in the town of Portapique, around 100 kilometres from Halifax, capital of the Atlantic province.
Gun violence in Canada is far less than in the neighbouring United States, and weapons more strictly controlled, and the killings were the country's worst since 1989 when a gunman murdered 14 female students at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique.
The victims included a female RCMP officer, Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Force, while a second officer was injured.
In Nova Scotia several victims were discovered both outside and inside a house in the town, sparking a 12-hour manhunt through multiple communities.
"The search for the suspect ended this morning. When the suspect was located. And I can confirm that he is deceased," Chief Superintendent Chris Leather told a press conference earlier.
Leather said that at one point the suspect appeared to be wearing part of a police uniform and was driving a vehicle made to look like an RCMP cruiser.
One officer dead, one injured
RCMP tweeted several times that he was not an officer and warned he was considered "armed and dangerous."
"The initial search for the suspect led to multiple sites in the area, including structures that were on fire," Leather told the news conference.
Leather said there was no final count on the number of victims, and that the investigation was in its early stages.
Another police spokesperson said, without further details, that the gunman was killed after an officer intervened.
Police said they had no indication of a motive at this stage. Lucki told CBC said there was no indication "at this point" of a terrorist motive.
"What I would say is that it appears to be at least in part, very random in nature," said Leather.
"We are in the early stages of an incredibly detailed and complex investigation that has forever changed countless lives."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that he "was saddened to learn about the senseless violence in Nova Scotia."
He said he hopes for a full recovery of the wounded, "including one RCMP member who is in hospital being treated for non-life-threatening injuries."