An armed man was killed on Sunday after a dozen hour-long manhunt in eastern Nova Scotia.
An armed man killed at least 16 people, including a policewoman, for a reason still unknown on the night of Saturday to Sunday in Nova Scotia (Canada). It is the worst killing of its kind in Canada.
51-year-old man, a dental technician according to media reports, was killed late Sunday morning after a dozen-hour massive manhunt throughout the eastern province from Canada.
The motives still unknown
During his murderous run, Gabriel Wortman notably drove a car similar to that of the police, wearing at least part of a police uniform. He sowed death in several places, under circumstances and for a reason still mysterious. Mass shootings are rare in Canada, unlike the American neighbor.
The national official of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Brenda Lucki, told several channels that the death toll was at least 13 dead, before announcing in the middle of the evening a new death toll of at least 16 dead, in addition to the killer, according to CBC and CTV.
“Not a spontaneous act”
The motivations of Gabriel Wortman have yet to be clarified by the investigation. “It’s too early to talk about motivation,” Nova Scotia federal police criminal investigation chief Chris Leather said in a press briefing.
Several victims “do not appear to be related to the shooter,” he noted. But “the fact that this individual had a uniform and a police car certainly suggests that it was not a spontaneous act” . Brenda Lucki said that the act was not considered terrorist in nature at this stage.
The killing began late Saturday evening in the small rural community of Portapique , a town of a hundred souls about 130 kilometers from the capital Halifax. Several victims were discovered in front of and inside a house where the police were called after reports of gunfire.
The alleged perpetrator fled when the police arrived, triggering a huge manhunt. Residents of the region, already confined by the coronavirus epidemic, were asked to lock themselves up by the authorities. The man on the run is “armed and dangerous” , the police had warned, even advising residents to take refuge in their basement if possible.
A policewoman among the victims
Gabriel Wortman was shot and killed by police when he was arrested late Sunday morning at Enfield, near Halifax Airport. An independent agency responsible for investigating serious police incidents, the Nova Scotia serious incident response team, said in a news release that it had launched an investigation into the suspect’s death.
Policewoman Heidi Stevenson, 23, a mother of two, was killed on Sunday and a police officer was injured, police said. “It was with great sadness that I learned of the senseless violence that took place in Nova Scotia and claimed the lives of many, including that of a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police , ” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded in a statement.
According to Canadian media reports, Gabriel Wortman was the owner of an orthodontic practice in Dartmouth, near Halifax. Police said they would try to determine if the massacre had anything to do with the coronavirus epidemic, which resulted in the closure of non-essential activities across the country.
The balance sheet could get even heavier
The killings, which police say could further increase the toll, are already the worst Canada has ever known in its history.
On December 6, 1989, a man shot 14 women at the École Polytechnique de Montréal before killing himself, causing what was at the time the worst mass killing – and the first femicide – in history from the country.
On April 23, 2018 in Toronto, the driver of a rental van killed eight women and two men whom he had intentionally struck on a sidewalk in a downtown artery.
The Prime Minister of Nova Scotia, Stephen McNeil, for his part, denounced “one of the most foolish acts of violence in the history of our Atlantic province” , which lives mainly on logging and fishing. It is one of the least populated provinces in the country – which has ten – with less than a million inhabitants.