Nova Scotia’s RCMP Criminal Operations Officer on shooting rampage

Statement by RCMP Criminal Operations Officer, Chief Superintendent Chris Leather in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia:

As we try and piece together the many details of the incidents that unfolded over the weekend, here is some of the information we know to date.

Throughout the evening Saturday [April 18] and into the early morning hours Sunday [April 19], the RCMP established and maintained a significant presence in the Portapique area in response to an active threat. Our response centred on protecting people, which included providing up-to-minute information on Twitter.

RCMP members were in the community of Portapique at 10:26 p.m. responding to a possible shooting. When they responded, members determined this to be a homicide. As part of the investigation, officers began notifying residents in the immediate area and searching for suspect(s). The RCMP issued a public instruction on Twitter that we were aware of a firearms complaint in the Portapique area and advised them to stay inside.

Within a short period of time, police discovered additional victims and several structure fires in Portapique. A complete search of the area was underway throughout the evening and into the morning hours and the suspect was not located.

Based on the evidence available at the time, the RCMP established a perimeter in the Portapique area as part of their ongoing investigation.

Early Sunday morning, the RCMP began providing real-time information on its Nova Scotia RCMP Twitter account. While doing so, confirmation was obtained about who the suspect was and at 9:35 a.m. police received a call about a possible female victim on Hwy 4 in Wentworth. Throughout this time the RCMP were able to broadcast photos of the suspect, suspect vehicle, locations and sightings. Twitter allowed our information to be shared, followed and broadcast by local, provincial and national news outlets.

At 10:15 a.m. Nova Scotia Provincial Emergency Management officials contacted the RCMP to offer the use of the public emergency alerting system.

The RCMP was in the process of preparing an alert when the gunman was shot and killed by the RCMP.

This incident was dynamic and fluid. The RCMP have highly trained and capable Critical Incident Command staff who were on site in Portapique. Operational Communications Centre operators assisting the response and police presence was significant. The members who responded used their training and made tough decisions while encountering the unimaginable. Collectively, RCMP employees had one objective and that was to protect Nova Scotians and each other by stopping the threat. At 11:26 the gunman was killed by the RCMP.

We are working towards providing a full timeline, and more information will be provided as it becomes available.