More than 10 people dead after N.S. gunman's rampage, and police say toll could grow
CBC News · Posted: Apr 19, 2020 5:37 AM AT | Last Updated: 4 minutes ago
Police have confirmed the gunman has died, and identified the RCMP officer who was killed
More than 10 people were killed during a gunman's bloody 12-hour rampage through several Nova Scotia communities, and police warn there may be more victims.
In an update on Sunday evening, Nova Scotia RCMP confirmed there were at least 10 people killed in several locations across the province, including a veteran RCMP officer.
Police said there may be more victims who have not been discovered yet and their investigation continues.
RCMP identified the gunman as Gabriel Wortman, 51. His rampage began late Saturday night in the small community of Portapique, N.S. He led police on a chase Sunday morning along one of the province's busiest highways.
The chase ended near a gas station about 35 kilometres north of Halifax in Enfield, N.S., around 11:40 a.m. local time. Police confirmed Sunday evening that the gunman was dead.
RCMP Chief Supt. Chris Leather said gunfire was exchanged between police and the suspect at at least one point.
Gunman did not know some of his victims: police
On Sunday morning, police had warned that the gunman was driving a vehicle that looked like an RCMP vehicle at one point, and was wearing an RCMP uniform.
"The fact that this individual had a uniform and a police car at his disposal certainly speaks to it not being a random act," Leather said.
Due to privacy reasons, Leather said he was not able to discuss Wortman's relationship with the victims, besides saying some of the victims did not appear to have a relationship with the gunman.
Police victim identified
Const. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the RCMP, has been identified as the police member who was killed responding to the active shooter incident.
"Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served. Earlier this afternoon I met with Heidi's family and there are no words to describe their pain," Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman told reporters Sunday evening.
"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."
Bergerman also said a second male officer was injured and is in hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
'One of the most senseless acts of violence' in N.S. history
Premier Stephen McNeil addressed the investigation Sunday afternoon.
"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. This is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province's history," McNeil said.
"To the families of the victims, and to those who are still feeling afraid, my heart goes out to you. Know that all Nova Scotians are with you."
McNeil also thanked RCMP for stopping the gunman and doing their best to protect citizens.
In a media briefing Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also thanked police for their work.
"My heart goes out to everyone affected in what is a terrible situation," Trudeau said in a brief statement.
'We heard gunshots'
Darcy Sack, a Shubenacadie, N.S., resident, said she and her friend came across two burning police vehicles and the silver suspect vehicle while out driving on Sunday morning near Highway 102, one of the province's main arteries.
"We were right behind the police car that was on fire. There was one officer we could see on scene and then all of a sudden, he went running toward one of the burning vehicles," Sack said. "We heard gunshots."
Sack said her heart was pounding the whole time.
"I had that feeling that something was wrong with the [police officer's] partner — the way he looked. My heart went out to him," she said.
Sack said they then turned on to the highway and then saw the shooter in the silver car again being chased by police. She said he was dressed like a police officer.
Eyewitness saw homes burning
Mike MacKay, who lives just off the Glooscap Trail in Portapique said he saw police cars on the Portapique Beach Road around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, across the Portapique River from his home.
"We saw a fire down the road, and thought that's all that it was. Then we saw a second fire and a third fire," said MacKay in a phone interview from his home Sunday morning.
N.S. resident 'up all night' following active shooter incident
CBC has learned RCMP and fire fighters were called to a property in Wentworth, N.S., on Sunday morning shortly before 10 a.m. to respond to a house fire.
Police have not released any information about whether it is connected to the shooter investigation.
The RCMP would not comment on the report of multiple house fires when asked by CBC News on Sunday morning.
'You're on edge'
MacKay said he did not sleep at all overnight Saturday.
"You're on edge. It's a small community," said MacKay. "It becomes quite a concern."
Coun. Tom Taggart, who represents the area for the Municipality of Colchester, described Portapique as a quiet community with many seniors.
Taggart said there are many seasonal homes in the area, which has around 100 residents but swells to 250 in the warmer months.
"It's a beautiful, quiet, rural community," said Taggart, adding that the situation is not something he'd expect to happen in "cottage country."
A person with the name Gabriel Wortman is listed as a denturist in the Halifax area on the Denturist Society of Nova Scotia website.
According to property records, Wortman owns a denture clinic and two other properties in Dartmouth and three properties in Portapique.