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19 Apr, 2020 21:25

Nova Scotia murder spree: Gunman dead after killing at least 16 people, including police officer

Nova Scotia murder spree: Gunman dead after killing at least 16 people, including police officer

At least 16 people, including an officer, were killed in multiple locations across the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, before the gunman was neutralized during an extensive manhunt, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

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The gunman, identified by police as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, went on a shooting spree in a rural area near the town of Portapique late on Saturday.

Const. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the RCMP and a mother of two, was killed responding to the active shooter incident, while another RCMP officer is in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Before the shooter was tracked down, at least 16 people lost their lives, making it the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. Authorities warned earlier that there might be more victims as they were still investigating. 

Officers responded to multiple 911 calls and found several casualties inside and outside the house, said Chris Leather, the criminal operations officer with the RCMP in Nova Scotia. The gunman was not there. Police said that he committed several homicides in the northern part of the province.

"If you see him, call 911. DO NOT approach," RCMP tweeted Sunday morning, calling the suspect "armed and dangerous."

The suspect led the police on a long manhunt, dressed at least partially in a police uniform and travelling in a car resembling a law enforcement vehicle. 

The chase went along one of the province's busiest highways and ended near a gas station 35 kilometers north of Halifax close to noon. The gunman is deceased, Leather said without going into further details. He did confirm that there was an exchange of fire.

"This is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province's history," Premier Stephen McNeil said.

Portapique is a rural community with many seasonal homes. The number of residents, among whom are many senior citizens, ranges between 100 and 250 people, depending on the season, according to CBC.

Wortman reportedly owned denture clinics and other properties in Portapique. Police said they do not know the motive of the rampage yet, but it appeared to be "very random in nature," as some of the victims had no relation to the shooter.

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