Nova Scotia shooting: death toll rises to 22 as more victims identified

, ,

Portraits of those killed emerge while police search 16 crime scenes across Canadian province

Police in Canada have updated the death toll of the countrys worst mass shooting to 22, as more victims from the gun rampage in Nova Scotia were publicly identified.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had previously warned the death toll would increase as investigators combed through several homes intentionally set ablaze by the gunman in a 12-hour rampage that started late on Saturday in the town of Portapique. On Tuesday, 16 separate crime scenes were being examined across the province.

map of attacks

The total number of deaths from the attack reached 23, including the gunman. The newly identified victims included a woman out for a walk, a care aide on duty, and a volunteer firefighter.

Joey Webber, 36, had left his home on Sunday morning to buy furnace oil. When he didnt return hours later, family fanned out to search for him only to realize that he had last been seen close to the shooting.

Joey Webber was a keen outdoorsman. Photograph: Just Giving

Webber, a keen outdoorsman who was known for harvesting timber by horse, leaves behind his partner, Shanda MacLeod, and their two daughters, according to a crowdfunding page set up to help the family.

The remains of Elizabeth Joanne Thomas and her husband, John Zahl, are believed to be still inside the burned-out two-storey log cabin, their grandson Justin Zahl told the Associated Press. Their home was next to that of the gunman, Gabriel Wortman, 51, and is thought to have been among the first properties to be attacked.

Authorities have not identified a motive for the killings but said there was clear premeditation: Wortman wore a fake police uniform and decorated his car to look like an RCMP cruiser.

As the attacks unfolded, police warned residents of the rural community to lock their doors and stay in their basements.

Many people were already at home because of the coronavirus lockdown, but Lillian Hyslop had ventured out for a walk when she was shot dead. A neighbor, Debi Atkinson, told the Chronicle Herald that Hyslops encounter with the gunman appeared 100% random.

Authorities believe Wortman may have targeted his first victims but before attacking anyone on his path as he drove around.

They included Gina Goulet, 54, who had almost fully recovered from a second diagnosis of brain cancer when she was killed, according to her daughter, Amelia Butler.

Gina Goulet, left, had almost fully recovered from a second brain cancer diagnosis. Photograph: Just Giving

Wortman died on Sunday after a standoff with police.

The RCMP commissioner, Brenda Lucki, said Wortman was not well known to police and acted alone. She said police were still trying to determine what weapons had been used.

Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday he had spoken with the family of Heidi Stevenson, an RCMP officer and mother of two who was killed in the attacks, and with another officer, Chad Morrison, who is recovering.

The prime minister reiterated his calls for national unity, saying that all Canadians stood with the victims.

This week, we are all Nova Scotian, he said.

Read more:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *