In a 12-hour rampage that stretched from late Saturday, April 18, to Sunday, April 19, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman went on a shooting spree in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, taking the lives of at least 18 people before he was himself taken down.
According to Canadian law enforcement, outside of the gunman, the number of dead include a police officer, Constable Heidi Stevenson, two healthcare workers and a school teacher.
On April 20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the act as “senseless violence and tragedy.”
Wortman is said to have disguised himself as a law enforcement officer before embarking on a 12-hour shooting spree that included setting properties and vehicles alight. There are currently a total of 16 crime scenes that are being investigated across several communities.
It’s believed that the gunman managed to continue on his rampage undetected as long as he did due to his law enforcement uniform and a vehicle that was reported to look “virtually identical” to police cruisers used by the Mounties.
Wortman, a denturist, appeared to have a fascination with law enforcement, owning several replica uniforms and a homemade law enforcement vehicle.
The police expect to uncover more fatalities once the buildings torched by the gunman have been properly excavated.
Chief Superintendent Chris Leather told reporters on Monday that “we believe there may be victims still within the remains of those homes which burnt to the ground.”
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Brenda Lucki told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday that police were anticipating that the investigation would be a long and complicated one, since the suspect was not well known to police. Lucki also stated that the massacre did not appear to be connected to any known terrorist cells.
Police are still seeking a motive for the attack, as it appears that the gunman knew at least some of his victims.