In one of the most horrifying mass murders in Canadian history, a 51-year-old white male went on a rampage lasting nearly 12 hours, killing 16 people including a police officer in the province of Nova Scotia. The killing spree, which began on Saturday night, ended on Sunday morning when the shooter, identified as Gabriel Wortman, was gunned down by police in an encounter.
While no motive has yet been attributed to the killing spree, police do not believe this was a random act as Wortman was dressed in the uniform of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP and, at one point, was believed to be driving a vehicle camouflaged as a police cruiser.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said investigators will “have to do a lot of work on finding the motivation, a lot of background, a lot of profiling-type events and a lot of crime scene processing,” according to CBC News.
Among those killed by Wortman was a veteran RCMP officer, Constable Heidi Stevenson, a mother of two, who responded to the “active shooter” alert.
Wortman’s rampage began at around 11.30 pm at the township of Portapique, and ended 12 hours later at a petrol pump in the town of Enfield, following a chase by the local RCMP with officers firing upon the suspect. Wortman is believed to have owned a denture clinic and properties in Halifax, the capital of the province, and Portapique where the rampage started.
In a statement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mourned the victims, as he said, “I was saddened to learn about the senseless violence in Nova Scotia, which claimed the lives of multiple people, including one member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.” He added, “Our hearts go out to the people who have lost loved ones, and to the RCMP family mourning a fallen officer.”
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil expressed his anguish over the tragedy calling it “one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history.”