HALIFAX — Police say at least 13 people, including an RCMP officer, have been killed in a mass shooting incident in Nova Scotia. The suspect is also dead following the incident.
RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki confirmed the number to CTV News Sunday evening.
The Nova Scotia RCMP also provided an update during a news conference in Dartmouth, N.S.
“Today is a devastating day for Nova Scotia and it will remain etched in the minds of many for years to come,” said commanding RCMP officer Lee Bergman.
“What has unfolded overnight and into this morning is incomprehensible and many families are experiencing the loss of a loved one.”
Police confirmed that Const. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Nova Scotia RCMP, died Sunday morning while responding to the active shooter incident.
“Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served,” said Bergman. “Two children have lost their mother and a husband has lost his wife. Parents have lost their daughter and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague.”
A male RCMP officer was also taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. His identity has not been released.
“He and his family will be supported and we will be alongside him as he begins his road to recovery,” said Bergman.
Several people found dead at Portapique home
Chief Supt. Chris Leather said police first responded to a firearms complaint at a residence in Portapique, N.S. late Saturday evening after receiving several 911 calls.
When officers arrived, Leather said they found “several casualties” inside and outside of the home.
“This was a very quickly evolving situation and a chaotic scene,” said Leather, the criminal operations officer for Nova Scotia RCMP.
Officers secured the area in Portapique and started searching for the suspect, but they were unable to locate him.
Police urged residents to remain in their homes with their doors locked while they scoured the community.
Leather said the search for the suspect — later identified as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman — led to several sites in the area, including structures that were on fire.
This is a breaking news update, earlier story below:
An RCMP officer is dead and another is injured after a shooting incident involving several victims in Portapique, N.S.
“Our hearts are heavy with grief and sadness today as we have lost one of our own. Our thoughts go out to our Member’s family and friends,” said Brian Sauvé, president of the National Police Federation, in a statement.
“A second dedicated Member was injured in the line of duty today. We will do everything we can to support them and wish them a full recovery.”
No details about the victims have been released at this time.
CTV News has learned that the suspect wanted in connection with the shooting incident in Portapique was also killed.
Multiple sources have told CTV News that Gabriel Wortman was killed by police outside the Irving gas station and Big Stop restaurant in Enfield, N.S., located roughly 40 kilometres from downtown Halifax.
Police have only confirmed that Wortman had been taken into custody Sunday morning, but didn’t provide any additional details.
RCMP are expected to reveal more information about their investigation during a news conference at 6 p.m. AST.
Witnesses heard gunshots, saw body on the ground
A truck driver from Ontario told CTV News he had stopped at the Irving for a shower and breakfast when he heard an employee shouting.
“She goes, ‘Oh my God, lock the doors, he’s here! And I peek out of the window and I saw some RCMP vehicles and there was four or five uniforms with guns,” said Tom Nurani.
Witnesses told CTV News they saw RCMP vehicles on scene, heard multiple gunshots, and saw a body on the ground.
“All I could hear was gunshots and my wife, I thought I was going to call 911, because she was going into panic, it scared her so bad,” said Glen Hines, who was driving by the Irving when he saw the Emergency Response Team arrive.
“There was multiple, like probably between five or 10 (gunshots). It was steady,” recalled Deon Wells, who lives nearby.
The RCMP had blocked off Highway 102 at Exit 5A and there was a large police presence at the Big Stop all day Sunday. The area surrounding the restaurant and gas station was cordoned off with police tape.
The interim director of Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team — which investigates all serious incidents involving police — confirmed they have investigators on scene in Enfield.
Situation started to unfold Saturday evening
The shooting suspect has been identified as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman.
The RCMP say the situation started to unfold late Saturday evening when officers responded to a firearms complaint in Portapique, N.S., a small community located roughly 130 kilometres north of Halifax.
Police provided updates on Twitter overnight, confirming that they were responding to an “active shooter situation,” and asking residents to remain in their homes with their doors locked.
Police have not confirmed any details about the shooting incident, but they do say it involves “several victims.”
There is no word on their identities or how many people may have been killed or injured.
Investigators first released the suspect’s identity before 9 a.m. Sunday. They said Wortman was considered armed and dangerous and warned that he should not be approached.
Suspect travelled in vehicle resembling RCMP cruiser
Around 10 a.m., police warned that Wortman was travelling on Highway 4 near Hidden Hilltop Campground in Glenholme, N.S. and urged residents to avoid the area and lock their doors.
A short time later, police said that Wortman may be driving what appeared to be an RCMP vehicle and wearing an RCMP uniform — though he is not an RCMP officer.
Wortman continue to travel across the province Sunday morning, with police warning at 10:21 a.m. that he had been spotted in the Debert area.
At 11:04 a.m., police said Wortman was last seen travelling south on Highway 102 from the Brookfield, N.S., area in the vehicle that looked like an RCMP cruiser.
At 11:24 a.m., police said that Wortman was now driving a silver Chevrolet Tracker and had been spotted in Milford, N.S.
At 11:40 a.m., the RCMP tweeted that Wortman was in custody.
This is a developing story. More to come.ome.
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