Ottawa, April 20 (IANS) A man wearing a police uniform went on a shooting rampage in Canada’s Nova Scotia province, killing 17 people, in the deadliest such attack in the country’s history, officials said, adding that the suspected gunman was also dead.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Sunday night the suspected shooter, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, was killed after being intercepted by officers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) said in a news report.
Of the 17 victims, RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson was killed in the rampage, while a male officer suffered non-life threatening injuries.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki told CBC News on Sunday evening said the fatalities surpassed the 14 victims killed in the 1989 Polytechnique massacre in Montreal.
Lucki said she believed the shooter had an initial “motivation” at the beginning that “turned to randomness”.
RCMP Chief Supt. Chris Leather said the first reports of an active shooter came earlier on Sunday from Portapique, a community about 40 km west of Truro, which residents described as a quiet place to live that attracts people from the provincial capital of Halifax in summer.
Upon arrival, police found “several casualties” inside and outside a Portapique residence, he said, but they could not locate the suspect.
He added there were “multiple sites in the area including structures that were on fire”, CBC News reported
Later in the day, the suspect was stopped about 90 km away in Enfield, a scene that was surrounded by a half dozen police vehicles.
Yellow police tape surrounded the gas pumps, and a large silver-coloured SUV was being investigated by police.
A body was seen lying at the gas station but the police did not comment on whether it was Wortman.
Through the morning Sunday, police updates about the active shooter investigation included warnings that Wortman was considered dangerous and may have been dressed as an RCMP officer in a lookalike RCMP vehicle.
“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 was quoted in the CBC News report as saying.
“This is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history,” the CBC report quoted Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil as saying.
In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “As a country, in moments like these, we come together to support one another. Together we will mourn with the families of the victims, and help them get through this difficult time.”