Canadian authorities said Monday there could be more victims than the 19 people left dead after a crazed gunman went on a deadly 12-hour rampage over the weekend in Nova Scotia.
Gruesome details were released by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Monday about Gabriel Wortman, the 51-year-old gunman, who reportedly planned the attack for some time, acquiring both a Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform and two decommissioned vehicles from the agency.
Wortman, a denture fitter, apparently started his attack by targeting his ex-wife and her new boyfriend in the town of Portapique, around 60 miles from Halifax, before attacking people at random at a number of different crime scenes across the province. All told, his rampage and the subsequent manhunt lasted about 12 hours from Saturday night into Sunday morning.
The motive behind one of Canada’s deadliest shootings is still under investigation, Chris Leather, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police chief superintendent, said.
The horror began after 10:30 p.m. Saturday when the first emergency calls were made.
“When police arrived at the scene, the members located several casualties inside and outside of the home,” Chris Leather, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police chief superintendent and criminal operations officer in Nova Scotia, said.
The number of victims is still expected to rise, too, after it increased throughout Sunday and crime scenes are still being processed at several sites, including a number of suspected arsons.
“There could be more (murders),” a police source told the Toronto Sun. “There were burned homes that have not been searched. Officers have been going into homes and finding bodies.”
“That part of the investigation is still very much ongoing, and again, speaks to why we don’t have a final total because we expect that to rise in the coming days,” Leather said Monday.
Dressed in the RCMP uniform and in a car that resembled a police cruiser, Wortman reportedly pulled over his victims or entered their houses before shooting them.
“The guy went on a rampage (Saturday night) — burning houses and shooting people,” a police source told The Sun. “He got in to his police car he had made at home and drove around pulling people over and executing them.”
“(The victims) would have trusted him,” the source said.
Heidi Stevenson, the RCMP officer who was killed by Wortman, drove her police cruiser into his car in an effort to stop him but he still shot her multiple times before killing her execution style and taking her car while ditching his.
At least one other RCMP officer, Constable Chad Morrison, was also shot, but his condition was unknown.
Lisa McCully, an elementary school teacher, and Heather O’Brien, a nurse, are also believed to be among the victims. The RCMP have not released the names of the victims yet.
Wortman was finally shot multiple times after being cornered at a gas station and appearing to draw a gun.
Witnesses reported seeing several RCMP officers arrive at the gas station and hearing as many as a dozen gunshots.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings would prevent most public mourning after the shooting but a virtual vigil is planned for later this week.
“I know the people of Nova Scotia will band together to heal and mourn those who were lost,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said. “All Canadians will stand with them.”
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