Death toll in Nova Scotia shooting rampage increases to 19

Written by on April 22, 2020

BalkansCat/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The death toll in the worst shooting in Canadian history has risen to 19 — and authorities expect it to increase as the investigation into the rampage continues.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported Monday that some of the victims in the Nova Scotia shooting were specifically targeted by the suspect, identified by police as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, while other victims were randomly killed.

“It appears that some of the victims were known to the suspect and others were targeted and not known to the suspect,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said at a press conference Monday in Halifax.

Police said they expect to find more victims as they examine the multiple crime scenes that resulted from the rampage. Five properties had fires, and more victims are believed to be in homes that “burned to the ground,” Leather said.

“That part of the investigation is still very much ongoing, and again, speaks to why we don’t have a final total because we expect that to rise in the coming days,” Leather said.

The rampage started Saturday in the rural town of Portapique. Officers responding to initial calls found several casualties in and outside a home, according to the police. A “chaotic scene” ensued, Leather said.

RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force, was killed while responding to the reports of an active shooter, the RCMP said.

A search for the suspect went into Sunday morning, and Wortman was arrested later that day.

On Sunday, the RCMP reported that Wortman was dead.

Wortman was wearing what appeared to be a police uniform and drove a vehicle made to appear like a police cruiser, which helped him move around the province undetected, Leather said. Wortman was not employed by the RCMP, police said.

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “saddened to learn about the senseless violence in Nova Scotia.”

“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.

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