The RCMP has confirmed at least 18 people have died following an incident involving an active shooter, including an RCMP officer and the gunman. Another officer who has not been named was injured and is in hospital.
RCMP officials said that the shooter killed at least 18 people between when the first incident was reported Saturday night and when he was killed by police on Sunday morning.
RCMP reported that Constable Heidi Stevenson was killed while responding to the incident.
“Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served. Earlier this afternoon I met with Heidi’s family and there are no words to describe their pain,” Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman told reporters during an update on Sunday evening.
RCMP also confirmed that the suspect, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, was dead.
On Saturday night, RCMP received a call claiming there was a man armed in the rural community of Portapique, Colchester County. Several nearby communities were on lockdown throughout the night as RCMP searched for the suspect.
Residents across central Nova Scotia reported homes and cars on fire during the twelve-hour manhunt. RCMP confirmed that at least some of the fires were caused by Wortman but would not comment further.
Sources said Wortman was shot and killed by RCMP at the Enfield Big Stop on Highway 102 — about 100 km away from Portapique, N.S.
This conflicts with earlier claims by RCMP that Wortman was in police custody earlier in the day.
It has been reported that Wortman was wearing an RCMP uniform and driving an RCMP vehicle. RCMP confirmed on Twitter that Wortman was not employed by the law enforcement agency.
The municipal councillor for Portapique Tom Taggart says the incident has shaken the community of around 100.
“This is just an absolutely wonderful, peaceful quiet community and the idea that this could happen in our community is unbelievable,” Taggart said.
Taggart said he is familiar with Wortman and said he divided his time between Portapique and his business in Dartmouth, N.S.