There are several crime scenes, more that 60 miles apart

By Steve Helling
April 20, 2020 11:48 AM
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Tim Krochak/The Canadian Press/AP

A gunman went on a shooting spree in Nova Scotia, Canada, beginning Saturday night, killing at least 16 people before he was fatally shot by police more than 12 hours later.

The rampage began in the small town of Portapique. Chief Superintendent Chris Leather with the Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the New York Times that police discovered dead bodies both inside and outside of a family home.

From there, authorities chased the gunman — later identified as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman — across the province, where he shot more victims. Police tell the Times that the rampage did not begin as a random act of violence, but that the killings became more random as they progressed.

According to CNN, the gunman evaded authorities for more than 12 hours before police fatally shot him. One of the victims was Constable Heidi Stevenson with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Another officer suffered non-life threatening injuries, the RCMP announced on their Facebook page.

“Today is a devastating day for Nova Scotia and it will remain etched in the minds of many, for years to come,” the RCMP wrote. “What has unfolded overnight and into this morning is incomprehensible and many families are experiencing the loss of a loved one.”

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press/AP

The RCMP says that there are “several” crime scenes dozens of miles apart. The first shootings happened at the Portapique home, and the final showdown happened in Enfield, about 60 miles away. The gunman may have been wearing a RCMP uniform and driving a car that appeared to be a police vehicle, say police.

When police finally caught up with Wortman in Enfield, a shootout ensued and he was killed. The Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team took over the investigation into Wortman’s death, to ensure that the shooting was justified, CNN reports.

The rampage was among the country’s worst mass killings in recent history.

“Countless families are in mourning today,” the RCMP wrote in their press release. “Each person who lost their life had family and friends and they too will need support.”

“The impact of this incident will extend from one end of this province to the other. As Nova Scotians, we have to do what we are known for. And come together in times of need and support one another.”