Gunman Gabriel Wortman, 51, killed at least 16 people in Canada’s most deadly mass shooting
An elementary school teacher is among at least 16 people killed in the most deadly mass shooting in Canadian history.
Lisa McCully, a mother-of-two, has been informally identified as a victim of yesterday’s gun rampage in the eastern province of Nova Scotia.
Gunman Gabriel Wortman, a 51-year-old denturist, was shot dead by police after a 12-hour killing spree in which he also set fire to buildings.
Disguised as a police officer, he also killed a veteran female constable.
McCully was named locally by her sister in a heartbreaking Facebook post last night.
Jenny Kierstead wrote: ‘This is so hard to write but many of you will want to know.
‘Our hearts are broken today as we attempt to accept the loss of my sister, Lisa McCully, who was one of the victims of the mass shooting in Portapique last night.
‘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.’
McCully taught at Debert Elementary where she was a ‘passionate teacher’ and a ‘shining love’ in the lives of her family and friends, the teachers union said in a tribute.
Among the victims was Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year member of the force and a mother-of-two.
Two to three others were injured and are being treated at a local hospital, including another Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.
Wortman appeared to slaughter most of his victims at random, but police sources said the first two to be shot were the gunman’s ex-wife and her new boyfriend.
The sources told the Toronto Sun: ‘He’s been planning this for a while. He had the uniform and two decommissioned police cars.’
Police said the suspect had been on the run since Saturday night, when officers were alerted to shots fired in the town of Portapique, around 60 miles from Halifax.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Heidi Stevenson, pictured, was shot and killed by the gunman. She was a 23-year member of the force and a mother-of-two
Wortman’s deadly rampage lasted 12 hours as he went around Nova Scotia in a police uniform killing people, with his victims appearing to be random, police said.
They also confirmed at one point he was driving what appeared to be a police vehicle.
The tragedy ended shortly before noon local time, when police said Wortman was located at a gas station around 60 miles south of where the shootings occurred.
Police did not clarify the nature of Wortman’s death, but photos showed several armed officers surrounding a car at a gas station and a body was later taken from the scene.
So far, police have not released a motive or explained how Wortman was able to obtain the police uniform or car that resembled a police vehicle.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers at a gas station in Enfield, Nova Scotia Sunday. Police first announced that they had arrested Wortman at the gas station but later said he had died
A Gabriel Wortman is listed as a denturist in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, according to the Denturist Society of Nova Scotia website. A suspect photo issued by the RCMP matches video footage of a man being interviewed about dentures by CTV Atlantic in 2014
Police warned that Wortman may be driving what ‘appears to be an RCMP vehicle, releasing this image, and said he may be wearing an RCMP uniform.
A Gabriel Wortman is listed as a denturist in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, a person who makes dentures, according to the Denturist Society of Nova Scotia website.
A suspect photo issued by the RCMP matches video footage of a man being interviewed about dentures by CTV Atlantic in 2014.
At the press conference on Sunday, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman confirmed the deaths of the civilians and officer Stevenson, saying: ‘Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served. Earlier this afternoon I met with Heidi’s family and there are no words to describe their pain.
‘Two children have lost their mother. And a husband has lost his wife. Parents have lost their daughter and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague.’
‘Heidi (pictured with her family) answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served’, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman said Sunday
Stevenson, pictured with her family, was a 23-year member of the force and a mom-of-two
Although no official details about the civilian victims have been released at this time, DailyMail.com has identified at least one victim.
Family members paid tribute to Corrie Ellison on Sunday afternoon, with his cousin Juliene Henderson writing: ‘Tragic and surreal..RIP to my cousin Corrie and to the several others killed. Just texted him this AM to see if his Dad was ok (his Dad lived in portique) ..not knowing he was out there and already killed. ‘
Local resident Dave Brown was seen putting up a memorial for the community after the shootings, nearby the road where the shootings occurred.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers prepare to take a person into custody at a gas station in Enfield, Nova Scotia on Sunday
Workers with the medical examiner’s office remove a body from a gas bar in Enfield, Nova Scotia on Sunday. Late Sunday morning, there were half a dozen police vehicles at the scene of the gas station where the suspect died. Yellow police tape surrounded the gas pumps, and a large silver-colored SUV was being investigated.
Describing the scene as ‘chaotic,’ officials said at least 16 people were killed across multiple locations in the small town. The number could grow during the search of other crime scenes
Mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada. The country overhauled its gun-control laws after gunman Marc Lepine killed 14 women and himself at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique college in 1989.
Before this weekend’s rampage, that had been the country’s worst.
It is now illegal to possess an unregistered handgun or any kind of rapid-fire weapon in Canada. The country also requires training, a personal risk assessment, two references, spousal notification and criminal record checks to purchase a weapon.
‘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,’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a written news release.
While they believe the attack did not begin as random, police did not say what the initial motive was. RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said many of the victims did not know the shooter.
‘That fact that this individual had a uniform and a police car at his disposal certainly speaks to it not being a random act,’ Leather said. He added that police believe he acted alone.
Leather said they would investigate whether the attack had anything to do with the coronavirus pandemic but no link has been found thus far.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) monitor Portapique Beach Road, as a fire truck travels along it during the search for Gabriel Wortman on Sunday
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers speak with a man, as two RCMP vehicles travel on Portapique Beach Road, after the police finished their search for Gabriel Wortman
Police block the entrance to Portapique Beach Road; the shooting was the deadliest such attack in the country’s history
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had earlier monitored the TransCanada Highway while searching for Gabriel Wortman; Cpl. Lisa Croteau, a spokeswoman with the provincial force, said police received a call about ‘a person with firearms’ late Saturday night, and the investigation ‘evolved into an active shooting investigation.’
Local resident Dave Brown was seen putting up a memorial for the community after the shootings, nearby the road where the shootings occurred. Several bodies were found inside and outside one home in the small, rural town of Portapique
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil called the shootings ‘one of the most senseless acts of violence’ in the province’s history.
He added: ‘To the families of the victims and those that are feeling afraid, my heart goes out to you.’
On Saturday night, Cpl. Lisa Croteau, public information officer with the RCMP Nova Scotia, said police received a call about ‘a person with firearms’ around 10.30pm and it later ‘evolved into an active shooting investigation.’
Tom Taggart, a lawmaker in the municipality of Colchester, said the quiet community has been shaken.
‘This is just an absolutely wonderful, peaceful quiet community and the idea that this could happen in our community is unbelievable,’ Taggart said by phone from his home in Bass River, near the lockdown area.
‘People live here because of the peace and quiet and it’s just an absolute tragedy,’ he said.
Police block the highway in Enfield, Nova Scotia on Sunday. Overnight, police began advising residents — already on lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic — to lock their doors and stay in their basements. Several homes in the area were set on fire as well
Taggart said he didn’t know Wortman well, but spoke to him a few times when he telephoned about municipal issues.
Taggart described knowing Wortman’s ‘lovely big home’ on Portapique Beach Road.
He said Wortman owned a few other properties in the community and was believed to divide his time between Portapique and his business in Dartmouth.
He described Portapique as ‘cottage country,’ with about 100 year-round residents and 250 in the summer.
‘You just don’t even dream that this is going to happen,’ he said. ‘I can’t fathom it.’