RCMP now say the weekend shooting rampage in Nova Scotia has claimed the lives of 23 victims.
The tragedy has now claimed at least 19 lives and RCMP say the toll is expected to rise. There are 16 crime scenes in central and northern Nova Scotia and five of them involve burned-out buildings in which police expect more bodies to be found.
PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday issued the following statement on the shooting in Portapique, Nova Scotia:
“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 (RCMP), Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Force. Our hearts go out to the people who have lost loved ones, and to the RCMP family mourning a fallen officer. I also hope for a full recovery for the people who were injured, including one RCMP member who is in hospital being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
“Every day, law enforcement members put themselves in harm’s way to ensure our safety and well-being. I thank them, and all first responders, for their unwavering dedication, professionalism, and service, and for always being there for us.
“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.
“Earlier today, I spoke with the RCMP Commissioner and the Premier of Nova Scotia to offer my condolences, on behalf of the Government of Canada. The people of Nova Scotia are strong and resilient, and we will be here to support them as they heal from this tragedy.”
Statement from Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman:
Today is a devastating day for Nova Scotia and it will remain etched in the minds of many, for years to come.
What has unfolded overnight and into this morning is incomprehensible and many families are experiencing the loss of a loved one.
That includes our own RCMP family. It is with tremendous sadness that I share with you that we lost Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Force who was killed this morning, while responding to an active shooter 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. Two children have lost their mother and a husband his wife. Parents lost their daughter and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague.
Heidi’s family is a part of our RCMP family and we will embrace and support them in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Unfortunately, I have to also share that another one of our officers was injured and is in hospital receiving treatment of non-life threatening injuries. He and his family will be supported and we will be alongside him as he begins his road to recovery.
This tragic incident has also resulted in many victims outside of the RCMP.
Countless families are in mourning today. Each person who lost their life had family and friends and they too will need support.
The impact of this incident will extend from one end of this province to the other. As Nova Scotians, we have to do what we are known for. And come together in times of need and support one another.
ACCORDING to news reports on Sunday, the suspect, Gabriel Wortman, 51, of Portapique, put on a police uniform at one point and made his car look like an RCMP cruiser. He killed 16 in rural Nova Scotia before being killed himself. This is the deadliest such attack in Canadian history, surpassing 1989′s École Polytechnique massacre.
At the first scene, several bodies were found inside and outside a Portapique home, about 100 kilometres north of Halifax. There were bodies at other locations. Several homes were also set on fire.