At least 22 people have been confirmed dead after a gunman went on a killing rampage in Canada’s deadliest mass shooting.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they have recovered remains from fires after homes were set alight during the 12-hour attack in Nova Scotia. Police have warned the death toll will almost certainly rise as investigators comb through homes destroyed by fire.
The death toll includes the gunman, 51-year-old denturist Gabriel Wortman, who was shot dead by police on Sunday morning bringing his rampage to an end. Police tracked him down after they were alerted to shots being fired in Portapique, around 60 miles from Halifax.
He had disguised his car to look like a police vehicle and dressed in Mountie uniform, while he killed his victims across several locations in Portapique. Police have not provided a motive for the attack.
Among the victims was police officer and mother-of-two, Heidi Stevenson, who had been a Mountie for 23 years. She was killed as she responded to the shootings.
Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman said: ‘What has unfolded overnight and into this morning is incomprehensible and many families are experiencing the loss of a loved one. That includes our own Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) family.
‘It is with tremendous sadness that I share with you that we lost Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Force who was killed this morning, while responding to an active shooter incident.’
The updated death toll comes as questions emerged on Tuesday about why a public emergency alert was not sent as the rampage ensued.
Police provided Twitter updates but did not send out an alert that would have automatically popped up on mobile phones.
The Queen has sent a message of condolence to the people of Nova Scotia saying her thoughts and prayers were with everyone affected by the ‘appalling’ attacks.
The head of state, who is also Queen of Canada, sent the message both in French and English and signed it ‘Elizabeth R’.
‘Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Nova Scotia, and we send our condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who have lost their lives,’ the monarch said.
‘I also pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other police services who selflessly responded to these devastating attacks, and to the emergency services who are supporting those who have been injured and affected.
‘My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nova Scotia and all Canadians at this tragic time.’
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