Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) tactical unit confer after the suspect in a deadly shooting rampage was neutralized at the Big Stop near Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, Canada, on Sunday. A gunman killed at least 13 people in an overnight shooting rampage across rural Nova Scotia, before being found dead following an hours-long manhunt. — AFP/VNA Photo
MONTREAL — A gunman killed at least 13 people in an overnight shooting rampage across rural Nova Scotia, before being found dead Sunday after one of Canada's worst killing sprees in decades, federal police said.
Identified as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, the suspect had been on the run since Saturday night, when police were alerted to shots fired in the town of Portapique, around 100km from Halifax, capital of the Atlantic province.
Gun violence in Canada is far less than in the neighbouring United States, and weapons more strictly controlled, and the killings were the country's worst since 1989 when a gunman murdered 14 female students at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique.
"I can report that there were 13 victims so far, plus the suspect, that are deceased," the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Brenda Lucki, told Canadian broadcaster CBC.
The victims included a female RCMP officer, Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Force, while a second officer was injured.
In Nova Scotia several victims were discovered both outside and inside a house in the town, sparking a 12-hour manhunt through multiple communities.
"The search for the suspect ended this morning. When the suspect was located. And I can confirm that he is deceased," Chief Superintendent Chris Leather told a press conference earlier.
Leather said that at one point the suspect appeared to be wearing part of a police uniform and was driving a vehicle made to look like an RCMP cruiser.
One officer dead, one injured
RCMP tweeted several times that he was not an officer and warned he was considered "armed and dangerous."
"The initial search for the suspect led to multiple sites in the area, including structures that were on fire," Leather told the news conference.
Leather said there was no final count on the number of victims, and that the investigation was in its early stages.
Another police spokesperson said, without further details, that the gunman was killed after an officer intervened.
Police said they had no indication of a motive at this stage. Lucki told CBC said there was no indication "at this point" of a terrorist motive.
"What I would say is that it appears to be at least in part, very random in nature," said Leather.
"We are in the early stages of an incredibly detailed and complex investigation that has forever changed countless lives."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that he "was saddened to learn about the senseless violence in Nova Scotia."
He said he hopes for a full recovery of the wounded, "including one RCMP member who is in hospital being treated for non-life-threatening injuries." – AFP