One of the worst killing sprees in Canadian history has occurred in Nova Scotia as police confirmed Sunday night “in excess of” 10 people are dead after a man is suspected to have gone from town to town killing people.
Overnight, to Sunday morning, police suspect Gabriel Wortman of killing more than 10 people, however the number could be greater pending a more thorough investigation of shooting sites, said Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather.
“We are in the early stages of a detailed and complex investigation,” said Leather.
Last night in Colchester County, said Leather, police encountered several casualties inside and outside of a home.
“This was a very quickly evolving situation and a chaotic scene,” he said.
Police searched for the suspect in multiple communities, said Leather. RCMP informed the public of an active shooter situation Sunday morning, telling people on Twitter to “stay inside your homes and lock your doors.”
Police initially reported Wortman potentially driving a replica white RCMP vehicle and then in the morning he was believed to be driving a small silver SUV.
Leather could not confirm a death toll.
“We aren’t aware of the details, and haven’t explored the province,” he 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.”
Several fires were lit at the crime scenes, said Leather.
One officer is dead and another is injured, confirmed Leather.
Const. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force was killed while investigating the spree, he said.
At one point during the course of the night there was an exchange of gunfire, said Leather.
Statement from Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman Today is a devastating day for...Posted by Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia on Sunday, April 19, 2020
“Today is a devastating day for Nova Scotia and it will remain etched in the minds of many for years to come,” said Chief Superintendent and commanding officer Lee Bergerman.
Wortman was eventually killed by police, said Leather.
“Our officers were involved in terminating the threat. I can’t speak to the details of what occurred,” he said.
RCMP announced Wortman’s arrest on Twitter so it appears Wortman died after the arrest, as he may have been wounded.
Leather said there is no known or apparent motive at this point.
“Those are the very issues that will be under close investigation in the coming days,” he said.
51-year-old Gabriel Wortman is the suspect in our active shooter investigation in #Portapique. There are several victims. He is considered armed & dangerous. If you see him, call 911. DO NOT approach. He’s described as a white man, bald, 6’2-6’3 with green eyes. pic.twitter.com/Y2nJNULlkn— RCMP, Nova Scotia (@RCMPNS) April 19, 2020
A Gabriel Wortman was listed as a denturist in Dartmouth, according to the Denturist Society of Nova Scotia website, news outlets reported earlier Sunday. However the listing has since been removed.
A Gabriel Wortman donated dentures to a woman fighting cancer in 2014, according to a CTV News report.
For now, the shooting spree rivals that of the worst mass shooting in Canada — the long gun attack on women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989. That massacre is the worst massacre by a single perpetrator in Canada’s history. The Toronto van attack on April 23, 2018 killed 10 people.
Nova Scotia borders New Brunswick where RCMP there dealt with a mass shooter in August, 2018, when four people died, including two police officers.