A gunman killed at least 16 people, including one federal police officer, during a shooting rampage that spanned two days in the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia.
The suspect, who was later identified as 51-year-old denture-maker Gabriel Wortman, has also been neutralised following an hours-long manhunt.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated during a press-conference that Wortman used a mock RCMP uniform and squad car to carry out several murders and set fires at multiple scenes across the province.
Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said that the use of such equipment suggests that the rampage was premeditated, adding, however, that some of the victims did not have a relationship with the assailant.
#Colchester: Gabriel Wortman may be driving what appears to be an RCMP vehicle & may be wearing an RCMP uniform. There's 1 difference btwn his car and our RCMP vehicles: the car #. The suspect's car is 28B11, behind rear passenger window. If you see 28B11 call 911 immediately. pic.twitter.com/yyeOeBt8Ui— RCMP, Nova Scotia (@RCMPNS) April 19, 2020
Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman said that a 23-year veteran of the force, Heidi Stevenson, was killed in the line of duty responding to an active shooter situation. Another responding officer suffered a non-life-threatening injury and is recovering.
Shortly after the news broke, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences to the victims of the shooting, while praising law enforcement officers for their swift response.
Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the shooting in Nova Scotia. To the Portapique community, we’re keeping all of you in our thoughts. And on behalf of all Canadians, I want you to know that we’re here for you - and we’ll be here for you in the days and weeks ahead.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 19, 2020
According to the Chief Superintendent, the investigation is in its early stages and the perpetrator's motives are yet to be determined.
The Nova Scotia massacre was the worst of its kind in Canada since a gunman killed 14 women in Montreal's École Polytechnique in December 1989.