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Gunman kills 16 in rural Canada, country’s deadliest mass shooting

| Updated: April 21, 2020 10:10:18


Gunman kills 16 in Canada

A gunman who dressed as a policeman killed at least 16 people, including a female police officer, in the province of Nova Scotia, Canadian police say.

The 12-hour rampage ended in a car chase. The attacker is also dead.

Residents in the rural town of Portapique had been advised to lock themselves indoors after the attack began on Saturday.

Police earlier said the suspect was driving what appeared to be a police car, reports BBC.

The gunman shot people in several locations across Nova Scotia which meant authorities were still trying to establish the final death toll, police said on Sunday.

The police warned that there may be more victims.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable (RCMP) Heidi Stevenson, who had served in the force for 23 years, was among those killed.

"Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served," Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman said in a Facebook post.

"Two children have lost their mother and a husband his wife. Parents lost their daughter and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague," Commissioner Bergerman said.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said she believed the gunman had an initial "motivation" at the beginning that "turned to randomness", according to CBC News.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described it as "a terrible situation" and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters "this is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province's history."

Police say they were first alerted to an incident involving firearms late on Saturday.

Tweets by Nova Scotia police identified the alleged attacker as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman.

He was not employed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police but "may be wearing a RCMP uniform", they said.

Police said the suspect, Gabriel Wortman, may have been dressed in police uniform

"There's one difference between his car and our Royal Canadian Mounted Police vehicles: the car # [registration plate]. The suspect's car is 28B11, behind rear passenger window. If you see 28B11 call 911 immediately," they tweeted on Sunday.

The gunman later changed cars to drive a "small silver Chevrolet SUV", police added.

The police provided no details about how the suspected gunman died.

Mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada where gun ownership laws are stricter than in the neighbouring United States.

In 2019, two fugitive teenagers confessed to killing three people, including an Australian-US couple on holiday, in northern British Columbia.

In 1989, a college shooting in Quebec left 14 women dead after the killer sent all the men out of the classroom and opened fire.

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