In Brief

Canada shootings: what we know so far

Gunman dresses as policeman and kills at least 16 in Nova Scotia

A gunman has dressed as a policeman and killed at least 16 people, including a female police officer, in Canada.

The 12-hour rampage, in the province of Nova Scotia, ended in a car chase. The attacker, who is also dead, has been named as Gabriel Wortman, a 51-year-old denturist. 

Because he killed people in several locations, the authorities are still trying to establish the final death toll and police have warned that there may be more victims.

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The incident, which began on Saturday night in Portapique, about 80 miles north of Halifax, saw police tell locals to lock their homes and stay inside.

Local resident Christine Mills said armed officers had been patrolling the town's streets and helicopters were also used to search for the suspect.

“It's nerve-wracking because you don't know if somebody has lost their mind and is going to beat in your front door,” she told Sky News. According to CBC, several buildings were set on fire during the episode. 

Police said the suspect was driving what appeared to be a police car. “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 deceased officer was identified as Constable Heidi Stevenson, a mother of two and 23-year veteran of the RCMP. Another officer is in the hospital receiving treatment for non-life threatening injuries he suffered in the incident.

Brian Sauve, president of the National Police Federation union, said: “Our hearts are heavy with grief and sadness today as we have lost one of our own.”

Police said the case was not being regarded as terrorism but they have confirmed that they would explore a possible link to the closure of non-essential businesses due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “My heart goes out to everyone affected in what is a terrible situation”.

Nova Scotia's premier Stephen McNeil described the shooting as “one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province's history”.

The BBC says mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada where gun ownership laws are stricter than in the neighbouring US.

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