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A timeline of events in the deadly Nova Scotia rampage
TORONTO -- A police investigation into a mass attack that killed at least 22 people -- plus the suspect in Nova Scotia began late Saturday and ended with the suspect's death on Sunday morning. This is how the events unfolded, all times are local:
11:30 P.M. SATURDAY
Nova Scotia RCMP tweeted that they were responding to a firearms complaint late Saturday night in Portapique, N.S. just north of Halifax. People were asked to avoid the area and stay in their homes.
RCMP Chief Supt. Chris Leather later said the search for the suspect led to several sites in the area, including structures that were on fire.
8 A.M. SUNDAY
RCMP say they are still on the scene and describe the investigation as an "active shooter situation." They tell residents to stay in their homes.
8:54 A.M. SUNDAY
The RCMP identified the suspect as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, who was described as armed and dangerous. Police tweet that there are "multiple victims" but do not give any details.
Police warned the public that Wortman was travelling on Highway 4 near Glenholme, N.S. in what appeared to look like an RCMP vehicle. They also said the suspect appeared to be wearing an RCMP uniform.
RCMP say Wortman was last seen travelling southbound on Highway 102 toward Halifax from the Brookfield area.
Police say the suspect has changed vehicles and was spotted driving a silver Chevrolet Tracker in Milford, N.S., approximately 60 kilometres from where he was last seen.
Police said they had the suspect "in custody" but did not release any details.
Multiple sources later confirmed to CTV News that the suspect was shot and killed by police at the Irving gas station and Big Stop restaurant in Enfield, N.S., located roughly 40 kilometres from downtown Halifax.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil addressed the incident during a COVID-19 briefing, saying the events were "one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history."
The union representing RCMP officers says one of its members was killed in the shooting while another officer was injured.
The RCMP hold a news conference and say "in excess of 10 people" were killed, but do not give an exact number. The RCMP confirm Const. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force, was killed during the incident.
Authorities confirm that a second RCMP officer was injured and is recovering.
Police also confirmed that Wortman was killed by officers.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first addressed the situation during a COVID-19 news conference on Sunday morning, but later released a statement in the afternoon saying he spoke with the premier and RCMP Commissioner to offer his support.
"Earlier today, I spoke with the RCMP Commissioner and the Premier of Nova Scotia to offer my condolences, on behalf of the Government of Canada. The people of Nova Scotia are strong and resilient, and we will be here to support them as they heal from this tragedy," Trudeau said.
The prime minister also offered his condolences to the families that were affected and said he hopes the injured officer can fully recover.
"As a country, in moments like these, we come together to support one another. Together we will mourn with the families of the victims, and help them get through this difficult time," he said.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki confirms to CTV News that 14 people have died in the shooting, including the shooter.
Lucki confirmed to CTV News that 17 people have been killed and that any additional updates would be completed in the morning.
9:39 A.M. MONDAY
The RCMP commissioner confirms to CTV News that investigators now count a total of 18 dead plus the shooter.
CTV News also confirmed elementary teacher Lisa McCully as the second victim.
In a press conference, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh expressed "deep-felt sadness and shared grief with the people of Nova Scotia."
"The loss of life and senseless violence has all Canadians reeling and grieving together and I want to send all our love and support to Nova Scotia and the community of Portapique," Singh said.
In a statement released Monday, the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) confirmed the identities of two other victims, Heather O'Brien and Kristen Beaton, both of whom worked for the health-care organization.
Outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer expressed his "heartfelt condolences and sympathies" to the friends and families of the victims of the "senseless attack" in a press conference.
"When a tragic like this strikes, communities come together to grieve and comfort each other," Scheer said. “Despite the current health crisis, I hope that everyone who has lost a loved one either through violence or through COVID-19 finds comfort and healing."
CTV News confirmed that 17-year-old Emily Tuck and her parents Jolene Oliver and Aaron Tuck are among the victims. Oliver's sister, Tammy Oliver-McCurdie, told CTV News Monday that the family were neighbours of the shooter.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dedicates remarks in his daily address to the nation to news of the tragically rising death toll in a violent crime spree in Nova Scotia.
"We are a country that stands united in our effort to defeat a pandemic, save lives, and help each other make it to a better day," Trudeau said. "But yesterday, we were jolted from that common cause by the senseless violence and tragedy in Nova Scotia."
He added that "such a tragedy should’ve never occurred."
"Violence of any kind has no place in Canada. We stand with you and we grieve with you. And you can count on our government's full support during this incredibly painful time," Trudeau said.
He also highlighted that a virtual vigil will be held on Facebook on Friday at 7 p.m. local time, and encouraged all to stand united in helping each other make it through to "a better day."
The RCMP hold a news conference and say there are "in excess of 19 victims," some who were known to their killer and others who were not.
Chief Supt. Chris Leather says the victims in the mass killing are a mix of men and women. He adds that the number of victims is expected to rise in the coming days as the investigation continues.
Leather says investigators are analyzing and conducting searches at 16 crime scenes around the central and northern portion of Nova Scotia. He says five of the crime scenes involve burned-out buildings, and they expect more bodies to be found inside.
Leather says Const. Chad Morrison, an 11-year RCMP veteran who was shot in the incident, is now recovering at home.
Authorities say the province’s police watchdog, the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), is investigating three separate issues related to the shooting.
SIRT was immediately called in to take a look at the shooting of the suspect. Leather said the other two issues relate to use of force and involve two members of the RCMP. He declined to say anything further.
CTV News confirmed that Sean McLeod and his wife Alana Jenkins, bother correctional officers, are among the victims. Jenkins worked at the Nova Institution for Women in Truro while McLeod worked at the Springhill Institution.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair thanks the RCMP during a press briefing.
“I sincerely thank the members of Nova Scotia’s RCMP and the commissioner who serve our communities every day,” Blair said. “As Canadians we have no greater responsibility than the safety of our communities and our kids.”
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki expresses appreciation to Canadians for their continued show of support in the aftermath of the shooting.
Lucki says the investigation will be “very long and very complicated.” She added that the suspect was not previously known to police.
Amid the incident, Blair says the Trudeau government remains committed to strengthening gun control in the country.
“We have been working diligently on the best way to achieve the strengthening of both our regulations and the legislation pertaining to firearms and making Canada a safer place,” Blair says.
Trudeau's Liberals campaigned on a promise to ban assault rifles, which they said in their platform are "designed to inflict mass casualties and have no place in Canada." The plan would include a buyback program for all military-style assault rifles purchased legally in Canada.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says in a media briefing that the province had been prepared to send out an emergency alert but the RCMP did not request an alert.
CTV News confirmed that Greg Blair and Jamie Blair, a married couple from the Turo area, are among the victims.
CTV News confirmed that Gina Goulet, a denturist and cancer survivor, is one of the victims.
CTV News confirmed that Tom Bagley, a retired firefighter, is among the victims.
CTV News confirmed that Joey Webber, a father of three daughters who went on an errand Sunday morning and never returned, is among the victims.
12:15 P.M. TUESDAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterates in a press briefing that the tragedy reinforces the need for gun control legislation.
Police have not yet revealed what type of gun Wortman used, or whether it was legally obtained.
Nova Scotia RCMP confirm that an additional four victims have been connected to the mass killing, bringing the total death toll to 22. The shooter's death brings the total death toll to 23.
Police say they are investigating 16 different crime scenes in the communities of Portapique, Wentworth, Debert, Shubenacadie/Milford and Enfield. RCMP say more than five structure fires and vehicle fires are related to the events.
The RCMP also reveal that the shooter had known some of the victims, and that those individuals “were targeted,” but that many other victims were not known to him. They did not provide more detail on these relationships.
"Our thoughts are with all of the victims' families and we are particularly mindful of families who have not yet received confirmation that their loved ones were involved," the statement read. "This is an unprecedented incident that has resulted in incredible loss and heartbreak for countless families and loved ones.
"Nova Scotia RCMP would like to acknowledge the support we have been receiving from Nova Scotians, from Canadians and from our many colleagues here and across the country. Your support means so much and will help us heal."
The RCMP says they will no longer be including the shooter in its victim total.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says in a press briefing that members of the Canadian Armed Forces are assisting the RCMP in their investigation.
McNeil reiterated that the RCMP did not request to use the province’s emergency alert system.
He thanks Canadians for their support amid this "difficult time."
"This was an unthinkable act of sheer violence against our province and against a particular part of our province. And we need to do everything we can, as a province to not let that act of violence define us or quite define our way of life," McNeil said.
CTV News confirmed that Corrie Ellison, a 42 year old who was visiting his father in Portapique, is one of the victims.
CTV News confirmed that Lillian Hyslop is one of the victims, who was shot while she was on a walk in Wentworth Valley.
CTV News has learned that Wortman was convicted of assault in 2002. According to court documents, he had to undergo anger management counselling and was banned from possessing "any firearm, crossbow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, or any kind of ammunition or explosive substance."
RCMP issue a clarification on their earlier press release to say they will no longer be including the shooter in its victim total.
"Please note that the release issued earlier today about the investigation into incidents on April 18 and 19 should have read 22 victims rather than 23. The suspect, Gabriel Wortman, also died in the incident," read the statement.
10:19 A.M. MONDAY
CTV News confirmed that Joy and Peter Bond are among the victims.
CTV News confirmed that John Zahl and his wife Elizabeth Joanne Thomas are presumed dead.
The couple’s son, Justin Zahl, told CTV News Channel on Monday that he hadn’t heard from his parents since 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Nova Scotia police have confirmed the couple's house burned down. Zahl assumes his parents were inside the house.
Frank and Dawn Gulenchyn are also presumed dead.
In a Facebook post, one of Dawn's sons, Jon Farrington, said his mother and stepfather's home had been burned down and he hadn't heard from them.
CTV News confirmed that the U.S. Consulate in Halifax sent an emergency alert to Americans in Nova Scotia about the mass shooter.
The RCMP issued warnings about the attacker on Twitter and Facebook, but no emergency alert was sent out. Officials have been repeatedly pressed on why they didn't use the system at any point during rampage.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says in a press conference that the Emergency Management Office (EMO) reached out to the RCMP "a number of times" about issuing an emergency alert Sunday morning.
"That's the protocol in place when it comes to EMO… the lead agency is the one that has to put the message together. We would not go from what’s happening by Twitter -- we would need the lead agency to actually craft the message so that we could put that out, and no message was received," McNeil said.
The RCMP hold a news conference and confirm that the shooter acted alone.
Police say Wortman was likely using unlicensed firearms. Investigators are trying find out how he obtained illegal weapons.
Chief Supt. Chris Leather defends the RCMP's use of Twitter saying it is the "usual way" police provide updates to the public and that their response was "dynamic and fluid."
He says Nova Scotia Provincial Emergency Management officials contacted the RCMP at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday morning to offer the use of the public emergency alerting system. Police say they were in the process of preparing an alert when the suspect was killed at 11:26 a.m.
The first RCMP tweet about an active shooter on the loose was sent at 8:02 a.m. Leather confirms it was between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. that police learned from a witness that the suspect was dressed as an RCMP officer and driving a vehicle that looked like a police cruiser. That information, including a photo of the car, wasn't relayed on Twitter until 10:21 a.m.
"The information about the vehicle, the clothing, took some time to learn from the one witness and once that information was compiled, it was immediately tweeted by our communications section," Leather said.
Nova Scotia RCMP have yet to release a complete timeline of the 13.5-hour rampage. It remains unclear what time the victims were killed.
Halifax Regional Police remove the smiley signs hung on the exterior of a denture clinic run by the suspect behind the rampage incident.
The removal came after an online petition calling for the signs to be torn down said keeping the toothy grin on the side of the clinic would be a "slap in the face" to victims and their families.
CTV News obtains video that appears to show the mass killer for the first time as he impersonated police on Sunday.
The video shows what looks like an RCMP officer pulling off the road at a location in Millbrook First Nation.
You can see the person calmly get out of the car, take off his jacket and then put on a safety vest.
An RCMP tweet at 11:04 a.m. Sunday morning says Gabriel Wortman was last seen leaving Brookfield, Nova Scotia. Millbrook is only 9 minutes away. The timestamp on this video says 10:55 a.m.
The video also appears to show this vehicle does not have a licence plate.
RCMP say they cannot confirm that this is the shooter at this time.
With files from CTVNews.ca's Ben Cousins and Alexandra Mae Jones