Canadian police said at least 10 people were killed after a 51-year-old man went on a shooting rampage across the northern part of the province of Nova Scotia.
The man was identified as Gabriel Wortman. He was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in a gas station in Enfield, Nova Scotia, northwest of downtown Halifax. Police later announced that he had died.
“In excess of 10 people have been killed,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said. “We believe it to be one person who is responsible for all the killings and that he alone moved across the northern part of the province and committed what appears to be several homicides.”
RCMP spokesman Daniel Brien confirmed that 13 people had been killed as had the shooter. He said he could not rule out that the death toll could still rise. Already, that makes it one of the worst shootings in Canadian history
Brian Sauvé, President of National Police Federation union, said a police officer was among those killed in a shooting and another was injured.
The dead officer was later identified as Constable Heidi Stevenson, a mother of two and a 23-year veteran of the force.
Police have not provided a motive for the attack. By late morning, there were half a dozen police vehicles at the scene. Yellow police tape surrounded the gas pumps, and a large silver-colored SUV was being investigated by police.
The incident started in the small, rural town of Portapique, with police advising residents to lock their homes and stay in their basements.
Several building fires were reported by residents as well, but police didn’t immediately confirm details.
Police stated earlier Sunday the suspect was driving a car that looked like a police vehicle and wearing a police uniform, but later said he was “believed to be driving a small, silver Chevrolet SUV,” traveling southbound on a highway. They said he is not an RCMP employee or officer.
Cpl. Lisa Croteau, a spokeswoman with the provincial force, said police received a call about “a person with firearms” at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday and the investigation “evolved into an active shooting investigation.”
“My heart goes out to everyone affected in what is a terrible situation,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
Christine Mills, a resident of the town, said it had been a frightening night for the small town, with armed officers patrolling the streets. In the morning, helicopters flew overhead searching for the suspect.
“I feel better now to know he’s in custody,” Mills said. “It’s nerve-wracking because you don’t know if somebody has lost their mind and is going to beat in your front door.”
Tom Taggart, a lawmaker who represents the Portapique area in the Municipality of Colchester, said the quiet community has been shaken.
“This is just an absolutely wonderful, peaceful quiet community and the idea that this could happen in our community is unbelievable,” Taggart said by phone from his home in Bass River, near the lockdown area.
Croteau confirmed a tweet saying there are “multiple victims” but could not provide a number or say whether any people had been killed.
Updated Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 7:39 pm 13 dead, identity of officer killed