TORONTO -- A 23-year veteran of the RCMP, a 'passionate' local teacher, a nurse, and a retired firefighter are among the victims of a violent rampage in Nova Scotia.

The mass killing started Saturday night in Portapique, N.S., and ended with the death of the suspect in Enfield, N.S., on Sunday morning.

In that span of time, numerous people were shot dead or had their homes burned to the ground, with them inside, making the spree the most deadly mass shooting in Canadian history.


Lisa McCully, a teacher at Debert Elementary, is being remembered by students and colleagues as “a shining love” to her family and friends.

Her sister, Jenny Kierstead, told CTV News that she is thankful for the outpouring of support from the community that clearly loved her sister.

“Lisa was an incredible educator and the best mom possible and I think that the influx of messages that we have received is really a testament to the impact that she had on people’s lives and for that I’m grateful,” said Kierstead, who also posted a statement to Facebook on Sunday expressing the family’s heartbreak.

"Our condolences go out to the other family members who are affected by this tragedy. Thank you for your support, it’s a hard day,” she wrote.

The 49-year-old's death was confirmed by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union Sunday.

Lisa McCully

“9300 NSTU hearts are broken along with those of her colleagues and students at Debert Elementary, as well as her family and friends who knew her not only as a passionate teacher but as a shining love in their lives,” the statement said.

An obituary for McCully was posted online on Thursday.

According to the obituary, McCully and her sister drove across Canada to Vancouver after finishing university. She then spent 10 years teaching in Vancouver before returning to Nova Scotia to be closer to family.

“Lisa had an infectious personality with a ready sense of humour. She lived life 200 percent and was the life of every party,” the obituary read.

A private funeral service will be held on Sunday. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, webcasting of the funeral service will be available.

The family is asking that people donate to Debert Elementary School, Truro Youth Choir or West Colchester Minor Hockey Association in lieu of flowers.


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.

“We have been in touch with their families and are offering our sincere condolences and support during this difficult time,” read a statement from VON president Jo-Anne Poirier.

“All of our frontline care providers are heroes. Yesterday, two of those heroes, Heather O’Brien and Kristen Beaton, were taken from their families, and from VON. We mourn their loss, and we mourn for their families.”

Kristen Beaton

Beaton, a continuing care assistant with VON, was a young wife and mother. Her husband, Nick Beaton, said recently she cried everyday worried she would bring COVID-19 home to her son and was vocal about providing more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers like herself.

In an interview with CTV News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, Nick Beaton said that he wants to take up his wife’s torch and fight for more PPE for frontline workers.

He and his wife had heard about the rampage in Portapique the night before she died, but had no idea the shooter was still out there when they woke up the next morning.

“If I had known he was on the loose, I would have not let my wife leave the house that day,” Beaton said.

Kristen Beaton had been pregnant with the couple’s second child when she was killed. Her husband said they had been planning to announce the pregnancy to their families this week by having their three-year-old son Dax wear a shirt with the announcement.

“I want (Canadians) to know, and I want my son to know for his entire life that she loved him more than I’ve seen anybody love anything,” Nick Beaton said. “Amazing mother, amazing wife.”


O’Brien, a wife, mother and grandmother, worked as a licensed practical nurse with VON for nearly 17 years, according to the organization.

O’Brien’s daughter Darcy Dobson said her mother sent her last text message to a family group chat her family at 9:59 a.m. Sunday, “by 10:15 she was gone,” Dobson wrote on Facebook.

“This will be hard but it will not be Heather O’Brien’s defining moment! I want everyone to remember how kind she was. How much she loved being a nurse. The way her eyes sparkled when she talked to her grandchildren and the way she just LOVED Christmas,” wrote Dobson.

“Let those things define her. Not the horrible way she died."

Heather O'Brien

O’Brien’s family called her the “matriarch” and “glue” of the family, in a statement provided to CTV News. She was “spiritual,” “stubborn” and “sarcastically hilarious.” She married in 1985 and had eight children, who were raised in “a big home surrounded by love.”

“We are falling apart without her,” the statement said. “Her children and grandchildren were the lights of her life and every one of them is missing a piece of their heart.”

O’Brien, who was 55, lost her own mother at the same age in a house fire, the family said.

“Instead of falling apart, our mother in her early 30s, took a deep breath and tried to fill the shoes of her mother before her,” they said. “She also was a mother to many other kids as we were growing up. She never turned anyone away. She didn’t care who you were, where you had been or what you had done.”

Dobson said in an interview with CTV News Channel that her mother “loved everybody.”

“She wanted to take care of everybody, that was her goal in life,” Dobson said Thursday. “She didn’t care if it was tough love to take care of you.”

Dobson says her mother had eight children and there are now 12 grandchildren in the family.

“We’re all very, very close so this has been one of the most difficult things we’ve ever had to deal with because she really was the glue, she was the top of all of it, she was the matriarch,” Dobson said. “She was ‘it’ for us.”

Dobson said the family plans to hold a celebration of life for O’Brien in the summer once physical distancing measures are lifted.


Jolene Oliver, her husband Aaron (Friar) Tuck and daughter Emily Tuck were also among the victims, found in their family home.

Oliver’s sister, Tammy Oliver-McCurdie, told CTV News Monday that the family were neighbours of the shooter. She says although they had disagreements in the past her sister mentioned nothing that would have prompted such a vicious attack.

Emily Tuck

Oliver’s sister, Tammy Oliver-McCurdie, told CTV News Monday that the family were neighbours of the shooter. She says although they had disagreements in the past her sister mentioned nothing that would have prompted such a vicious attack.

Speaking to CTV News via Skype from her home in Alberta, Oliver-McCurdie described her sister as a people lover who enjoyed poetry and life. She said her husband was amazing at fixing cars and making things out of leather.

Emily Tuck, 17, was a “natural” fiddler who had been using music to help her family through isolation during COVID-19.

An obituary for the family was posted online on Thursday.

According to the obituary, Aaron Tuck was a “crafty individual with a big heart” and was known in the community for fixing up cars.

Emily Tuck, was a “wonderful blend of both her parents but had her own uniqueness.” She took after her dad’s knack for craftsmanship and wanted to apprentice as a welder.

“Emily will always be remembered for her kind-heartedness, her sense of humour and her selflessness,” the obituary read.

Oliver enjoyed hobbies including writing poetry, birdwatching and spending time in nature. She was a waitress and enjoyed connecting with people in the community. According to the obituary, she “lived her life centered around her family.”

Oliver-McCurdie has started a GoFundMe page dedicated to figuring out the logistics of giving her sister and family a burial. She says her family was already struggling financially due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.​


Sean McLeod, Alanna Jenkins

Sean McLeod was a corrections officer at Springhill Institution, a federal prison in Springhill, N.S.

He was found in the burnt-out remains of his home in West Wentworth, N.S., roughly 50 kilometres north of Portapique, along with another victim: his partner, Alanna Jenkins, a corrections officer at the Nova Institution for Women in Truro, N.S.

His daughter, Taylor Andrews, lamented the loss on Facebook Monday.

“I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that I’ll never be able to call my Dad to ask him some silly question about being a grown up, or see the way my baby’s face would light up and squeal ‘Nana’ when she walked through the door,” she wrote of the pair. “There’s just not enough words to even begin to give these two the recognition they deserve for the amazing people they were.”

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair issued a statement about the couple on Tuesday night.

"They worked hard to protect their communities and the inmates under their care," Blair said in the statement. "Alanna and Sean will be remembered for their commitment to public safety. They will be greatly missed by those who worked alongside them, and the friends and family who loved them."


Greg Blair and Jamie Blair, a married couple, were also killed in the attack.

In a memorial posted to Facebook, family member Jessica MacBurnie described the couple as "beautiful souls," noting that she has "no words for the heartbreak my family and many others are going through.”

Another Facebook memorial post by Victoria Lomond, remembered Jamie Blair as a “care-free, kind and fun loving woman.”

“I have never known a love as strong and pure as Jamie and Greg’s,” Lomond wrote.

She said that the couple’s four boys were “the absolute centre of Jamie’s world,” and that “the last moments of her life were spent protecting [the] littlest two from unspeakable harm.”

Karl Kaulback, Greg Blair’s uncle, told CTV News that his nephew would “give the shirt right off his back for anybody.”

Greg Blair

In an interview with CTV News Channel, one of Greg Blair’s sons, Tyler Blair said he tried to call his father and step-mother Saturday night but there was no answer.

Blair said he convinced himself that they were asleep. He said he was visited by the RCMP on Sunday afternoon, who confirmed that his dad and Jamie were shot in the attack.

Blair said his dad has a shop across the road from where the killer lived. He said there is a trail leading to Greg and Jamie’s house from the shop.

Blair said his dad’s two younger sons, aged 10 and 12, were also in the house the night of the attack but hid until the killer left.

“They had seen a lot that night, But I’m amazed at how strong they’re being,” Blair said. “They hid in the house until he was gone and then they took off to the neighbours house and hid inside with their two little kids next door until the cops came.”

Blair said his brothers are now living with him and in his care.

Blair described his father as a “very hard worker.” He said most of the family worked for his dad.

“Everybody that met my old man, just loved him,” Blair said. “He was about to turn 46 this week and he acted like he was a 20 year old partying with me and my friends all the time, everybody just loved him.”

Blair said his stepmother Jamie had been in his life for about 20 years.

“She was amazing and became a second mother to me,” he said. “I just don’t even have words on how great those two people were.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family. Blair says he is overwhelmed by the response it has received.


Tom Bagley

Tom Bagley, a retired firefighter, was killed in the shooting spree, CTV News learned Monday.

In Facebook posts, Bagley’s daughter and nephew described him as a “beautiful soul” who was known for his “kindness, caring and incredible story telling.” His daughter, Charlene Bagley, wrote that he died trying to help others.

“[I]f you knew him, you knew that was just who he was all the time. I know he meant something to so many people,” she wrote.

“Tom was an awesome individual that could always bring a smile and a laugh any place and in any situation,” Jeff Flanagan wrote about his uncle on Facebook. “He was a retired Firefighter and was always eager to help anyone he could.”


Cancer survivor and denturist Gina Goulet also died in the rampage. In an interview with CTV News Channel, Diane Muise said her friend had an “all or nothing” spirit.

Gina Goulet

“She was absolutely full of life and energy. There was no such thing as doing things a little bit,” said Muise. “She went from loving to fish to getting dressed up and doing her salsa dancing.”

Muise said she’ll miss Goulet’s laugh the most.

“We just had so much fun, whether it was walking through Costco playing Marco Polo, or driving her Corvette—we were Thelma and Louise. She was just so full of life.”

Goulet had survived brain cancer once and was on her way to fully recovering from a second diagnosis, which Muise said her friend was taking in stride. Her attitude was: “I’ve got to beat it and move on. I have so many things to do,” said Muise.

Goulet was a denturist who had her own business, which she operated out of her home in Shubenacadie, N.S. Her friend recalled several times that Goulet visited a woman in her 90s at a hospital to help fit dentures.

“She loved to make people smile — literally make their smiles,” she said. “She just had a big heart.”

In Facebook posts commemorating the woman, friends said Goulet always exhibited “fierce independence” and had a “gutsy spirit” and “warm smile.”

“Our hearts go out to the family, especially her daughter,” wrote Lindy Weilgart on Facebook.

Goulet's only child, Amelia Butler, shared a photo of her and her mother on Facebook, writing “My angel,” with a broken heart emoji.

The two were "super close," said Muise.

“She was so proud of the wonderful young lady she’s grown into,” she told CTV News Channel.


Corrie Ellison, who was visiting his father in Portapique when he was killed, is being remembered by friends as “a beautiful soul.”

A friend of his, Ashley Fennell, told The Canadian Press that she had been friends with Ellison for almost a decade, and that he had always gone out of his way to help those he loved.

"I would call him, and it didn't matter what he was doing, he would jump for me," she said.

Corrie Ellison

His father, Richard Ellison, said he was “the type of person that I don’t think anybody would want to see that happen to him.”

The 42-year-old was on disability support because of an old injury, Fennell said. Ellison had no children of his own, but had offered Fennell money for her son’s gifts last Christmas and had taken the boy on a trip to a water park once when Fennell was struggling.

“He was just such a nice guy,” she said.


According to a GoFundMe posted by his partner’s family, Joey Webber went out on an errand on April 19 and never returned home.

Joey Webber

It has been confirmed to CTV News that Webber was among those killed in the attack.

Webber was a father to three daughters. The two younger daughters he had with his partner, Shanda MacLeod, whose family set up the GoFundMe, to try and support MacLeod and the children in the wake of Webber’s death. The page said that Webber was the sole provider of the family, and had been out of work due to the pulp mill he worked at having been shut down.

Webber had just returned to work two days before he was killed.


While out on a regular walk in Wentworth Valley, Lillian Hyslop became one of the victims of the killing spree.

Neighbours Heather and David Matthews said they frequently crossed paths with Hyslop while on walks outside. The day that Hyslop died, the couple had decided to walk a trail by their home instead of on the main road. That was when they heard the gunshot.

Lillian Hyslop

Speaking to CTV News, Dave Matthews said he believed if there had been a widespread alert about the shooter still being at large, Hyslop, “wouldn’t have gone out for a walk, and she might not have been killed.”

Hyslop was known for her “community spirit,” Heather Matthews told The Canadian Press, and always contributed to local events such as community suppers and activities.


Joy and Peter Bond

Peter Bond’s cousins, Deanna Gionet, confirmed in a Facebook post that the couple where victims of the rampage.

"I will never understand heartless inhumane acts like this," read the post. "So tragic for so many."

Gionet said Joy and Peter lived in Portapique, N.S., where the attack took place.

More social media accounts of relatives and a New Brunswick church have shared sadness at news of the Bond’s deaths, saying they "were loved by their family, friends and community.”


Frank and Dawn Gulenchyn

Married couple Frank and Dawn Gulenchyn are also victims of the rampage.

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.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Jon and Dawn’s other son, Ryan Farrington.

John Henry, chair and CEO of the Regional Municipality of Durham, extended his condolences to the couple's family in a video statement on Facebook. Henry said the couple lived in the Durham region in southern Ontario before moving to Nova Scotia.

Dawn worked at the Hillsdale Terraces long-term care home in Oshawa for decades before retiring in 2019, according to Henry.


Justin Zahl parents

CTV News has confirmed that John Zahl and his wife Elizabeth Joanne Thomas were victims of the attack.

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.

Zahl said his mom would always send him a good night text. But that night, there was no message.

Nova Scotia police have confirmed the couple’s house burned down. Zahl says his parents were inside.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Zahl and Thomas met in Nova Scotia but lived in Albuquerque, N.M. for 20 years. The newspaper says Zahl was a retired FedEx employee and also served in the U.S. Navy as a Russian translator while Thomas worked at the University of New Mexico.

The couple later moved back to Nova Scotia, where Thomas is from.


Heidi Stevenson

RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson also died Sunday morning while responding to the active shooter incident.

Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the police force, left two children and a husband at home, according to a statement from Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer Lee Bergerman.

“Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served,” Bergerman said in the statement.

Those who knew the officer said she was a loving wife who "lived for her family" and worked tirelessly for her community.

"She had a smile that would light up a room. I was thinking last night if I've ever seen her not smiling, and I don't think I ever have," RCMP Sgt. Joe Taplin​ told CTV's Your Morning Monday.

"Heidi was all about her family. That was all she ever talked about when she would come to work... I can't even start to put it into words, what [her family] is going through. It just hurts to much."

Stevenson was well known in the RCMP's small N.S. division, according to Taplin who noted "we have all crossed paths in some way."

"She probably saved a lot more lives than we'll ever know doing what she had to do to prevent this individual from causing more harm," he said. "She's probably one of the most wonderful, caring persons that you'd ever come across."

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki described Stevenson as someone with a "great love of life" who was dedicated to her role as an officer. She was also a media spokesperson for Nova Scotia’s RCMP, where she participated in radio and television interviews for several stories pertaining to police activity in the area.

“Anybody that knows her said she had just a great love of life and she was a hard worker and very dedicated to her chosen career,” Lucki said.

On Wednesday, the RCMP Foundation announced that they would be creating a new Fallen Officer Fund to help Stevenson’s family in the wake of her death. Donations can be sent through the RCMP Foundation’s website.

“Our thoughts go out to Heidi’s family and to all of the families impacted by this tragedy,” said Kevin Lawton, Executive Director of the RCMP Foundation, in a press release.

Stevenson’s family shared an obituary on Arbor Memorial’s website on Thursday.

“Heidi was the neighbor who waved at everyone. She was the busy parent who volunteered at the school. She was the friend who delivered cinnamon buns and homemade bread. She was the second mom to many kids who came over to play. She was the gentle smile when you needed it most,” the obituary read.

“Heidi made an impact on this world and words can’t begin to express how much she will be missed.”

According to the obituary, a private family service will be held in the coming days and a celebration of life will be planned for a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks people to instead donate to the RCMP Foundation.

RCMP continue to investigate the incident, which involves several crime scenes spread across the province. In a statement Sunday, Premier Stephen McNeil described the massacre as "one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province's history." 

With files from The Canadian Press,'s Alexandra Mae Jones