Shooting 'one of the most senseless acts of violence' in Nova Scotia's history: premier

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he is in shock after “one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history.”

“I never imagined when I went to bed last night that I would wake up to the horrific news that an active shooter was on the loose in Nova Scotia,” said McNeil.

The premier’s comments come after RCMP responded to a shooting incident in Portapique, N.S.

At least 17 people had died, including an RCMP officer, as of 11 p.m. Sunday, and police say there could still be more victims. The suspect is also dead.

The incident prompted a manhunt overnight and into Sunday morning, with police tracking suspect 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman from Portapique to Enfield, N.S.

Wortman was killed outside the Irving gas station and Big Stop restaurant in Enfield, N.S., located roughly 40 kilometres from downtown Halifax, late Sunday morning.

McNeil addressed the situation at the beginning of a news conference about COVID-19 Sunday afternoon.

“Words cannot console the families affected by what has transpired over the last 24 hours. To the families of the victims and to those who are still feeling afraid, my heart goes out to you. Know that all Nova Scotians are with you,” said the premier.

“We are all in shock that such a thing could happen here in Nova Scotia, and it’s a heavy burden to bury on top of COVID-19. But now, more than ever, we must stay strong together.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also reacted to the shooting during a COVID-19 news conference in Ottawa.

“My hearts go out to everyone affected in what is a terrible situation,” said Trudeau. “I want to thank the police for their hard work and people for cooperating with authorities.”