More than 19 victims in the Nova Scotia massacre

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s daily Covid-19 news briefing focused on the tragic shooting rampage in rural Nova Scotia – one of the deadliest such attacks in the country’s history. Trudeau’s opening remarks Monday talked about Canada’s united fight against Covid-19 being “jolted” into something “so tragic.”

“You ran towards danger, without pause, hesitation”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the work of first responders in Nova Scotia

“I want to ask the media, do not use the name or photo’s of the man behind these actions, do not give him the gift of infamy, instead let’s focus on the victims and families,” said Trudeau.

RCMP Superintendent Chief Chris Leather says there are ‘in excess of 19 victims.’ He says some of those victims were known to the suspect. The RCMP are currently at 16 crime scenes in central and northern Nova Scotia. Leather also says Const. Chad Morrison, 11-year veteran, is now recovering at home from gunshot wounds.

The death toll could rise once the RCMP conclude their investigations at five structure fires. Leather says they believe there may still be victims inside homes that burned to the ground.

RCMP member Heidi Stevenson among those killed in shooting rampage in Nova Scotia
RCMP member Heidi Stevenson among those killed in shooting rampage in Nova Scotia

The shooting rampage happened in Portapique, Truro, Milford, and Enfield. The PM says “Canada is in mourning” with those communities.

Trudeau thanked all first responders. “More than ever we need you. You ran towards danger, without pause, hesitation, you put your safety on the line for all Canadians. Thank you for your service.”

Legislation was about to be tabled to ban assault rifles from Canada’s streets

Trudeau said in the weeks before the pandemic hit that parliament was close on passing new gun control measures and “he’s open” to moving forward on that legislation. The PM says they were about to table legislation to ban assault rifles from Canadian streets.

There’s an online vigil ceremony for the victims on Friday night at 7pm on Facebook. Trudeau says he will be participating virtually.

The dead include RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the service, a wife and mother of two young children. A second RCMP officer has non-life threatening injuries.

Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman released a statement on the shooting.

Today is a devastating day for Nova Scotia and it will remain etched in the minds of many, for years to come. 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 RCMP family. It is with tremendous sadness that I share with you that we lost Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Force who was killed this morning, while responding to an active shooter incident. 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 his wife. Parents lost their daughter and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague. Heidi’s family is a part of our RCMP family and we will embrace and support them in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Unfortunately, I have to also share that another one of our officers was injured and is in hospital receiving treatment of non-life threatening injuries. He and his family will be supported and we will be alongside him as he begins his road to recovery. This tragic incident has also resulted in many victims outside of the RCMP. Countless families are in mourning today. Each person who lost their life had family and friends and they too will need support. The impact of this incident will extend from one end of this province to the other. As Nova Scotians, we have to do what we are known for. And come together in times of need and support one another.