Canadian shootings: police defend lack of emergency alert

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A woman adjusts flowers at a makeshift memorial for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heidi Stevenson

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Reuters

Legend

Memorials, including virtual ones, commemorate the victims


Police say they are preparing an emergency alert when police killed the suspect in the worst mass shooting in modern Canadian history.

Authorities have been criticized for using social media to alert Nova Scotians to the manhunt for the gunman.

At least 22 people were killed in 13 hours, which lasted from Saturday evening to Sunday morning.

Police have yet to determine the reason for the crime.

Victims include a 17-year-old youth, a pregnant worker and a veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Family members of some of the victims have publicly stated whether a provincial alert sent to all residents of Nova Scotia could have prevented certain deaths.

Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Chief Superintendent Superintendent Chris Leather said that since the first emergency service calls were made Saturday evening, reporting gunshots in the rural community of Portapique, the police were processing rapid information.

Respondents found “several victims inside and outside a home” but no suspects.

They also discovered “several sites in the immediate area, including structures and vehicles that were on fire.”

A tweet was sent at the time to warn residents of Portapique, where the rampage started, to stay indoors due to a “gun complaint.”

Police have set two parameters for chasing the suspect.

It was around 8:00 am local time (11:00 GMT) Sunday morning that the police met with a key witness who gave them critical information about the shooter, said the superintendent.

After that, the RCMP began providing frequent updates on Twitter, which were picked up by the media.

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AFP via Getty Images

Legend

Police say they are preparing an emergency alert when the gunman was killed by police


Victims were also found in the communities of Wentworth, Debert, Shubenacadie / Milford and Enfield.

The search ended shortly before noon on Sunday when the suspect was found by police at a gas station in Enfield, north of the provincial capital, Halifax. He was shot and died later.

At approximately 10:15 a.m. that morning, provincial authorities contacted the police to offer an emergency alert, said Supt. Leathers.

They were preparing our emergency notification when the shooter was shot by the police.

The investigator said he was “very satisfied with the messages” from the police given the complexity of the crime with which they were working.

What do we know more about the investigation?

Little is known about what motivated the suspect, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman or why he chose his victims.

Police said on Wednesday that if their investigation revealed that the alleged shooter had acted alone, “we are still investigating whether someone may have helped him carry out the incident – this is still part of the active investigation “

They are expected to publish a more detailed calendar of events in the coming days. The rampage took place in several communities and over 13 hours.

There are 16 crime scenes under investigation, including several arson attacks.

Police say the hunt for the shooter was hampered by the fact that he was driving a vehicle that looked like a police vehicle and wearing a police uniform. How he got the two is part of the investigation.

Who were the victims?

Among the dead were a teacher, a home nurse working on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic, and an RCMP officer.

A national virtual vigil will take place this week to honor the victims of the shooting, with the province locked out due to the virus.

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RCMP in Nova Scotia

Legend

RCMP constable Heidi Stevenson was killed in response to the attack


The first victim whose name was released was Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year-old force veteran and mother of two. The most recent were Alanna Jenkins and Sean McLeod, both managers of correctional facilities.

Another was Heather O’Brien, who cared for the elderly with the nonprofit Victorian College of Nurses (VON) during provincial isolation before being killed near his hometown of Debert, Nova Scotia.

Another VON employee, Kristen Beaton, was also killed in the shooting.

Lisa McCully, a mother of two, was among the victims. McCully had been a teacher at Debert Elementary School, according to the school website.

Not all of the victims – men and women, police say, and a 17-year-old girl – were named.

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