Portapique Shooting: RCMP Failed to Issue Timely Public Alert

  • "We were in the process of preparing an alert when the gunman was shot and killed by the RCMP."
  • Justin Trudeau said that the ongoing investigations will be able to address the numerous questions lingering on people’s minds.
  • The attack is considered the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been accused of failing to issue a timely public alert during a Nova Scotia shooting spree that left dozens dead. Critics say doing so could have saved lives. The RCMP say it did start the process of issuing an alert, but it took several hours to process it.

A spree killing comprising shootings and arson took place in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia between April 18 and 19, 2020. It is the deadliest attack of its kind in Canadian history, surpassing the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, during which 15 people were killed.

After receiving a call from a witness informing them that there was a gunman dressed in a police uniform, and driving a vehicle that resembled the RCMP, the police said that they started the process of issuing an alert.”Nova Scotia emergency management officials contacted the RCMP to offer the use of the public emergency alerting system,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

“We were in the process of preparing an alert when the gunman was shot and killed by the RCMP,” he added. Leather argued that the situation was dynamic and fluid as the police struggled to locate the gunman. Hence the delay in issuing the alert.

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said that the ongoing investigations will be able to address the numerous questions lingering on people’s minds, especially those that are grieving. Nick Beaton, whose wife was killed by the gunman, said that if the police had issued an alert on time then his wife would not have left the house. He added that by the time the alert came, his wife had already left for her job.

Justin Trudeau is a Canadian politician serving as the 23rd and current prime minister of Canada since 2015 and leader of the Liberal Party since 2013. Trudeau is the second-youngest Canadian prime minister after Joe Clark; he is also the first to be related to a previous holder of the post, as the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau.

Investigators have said the shooting incident may have been caused by a domestic violence dispute. It is alleged that the gunman was targeting his ex-partner. The suspect, 51-year old Gabriel Wortman, allegedly burned down his home before heading to his ex- partner’s residence. Several bodies were found inside and outside the house on Portapique Beach Road.

The investigators added that it was not clear whether his ex was among those killed. However, the motive of the shooting has not been established. “We aren’t speculating on Gabriel Wortman’s motives. Trying to answer this question is part of the investigation,” the RCMP said in a statement

Wortman was intercepted by police in Enfield, Novia Scotia, and killed at around 11.30 AM on Sunday. The police have said that the gunman operated alone, but added that they are trying to find out if he was assisted by anyone at some point. They added that Wortman was not licensed to own or operate a firearm. The police did not disclose the type of gun used in the attack.

The attack, which started late Saturday and spilled over to Sunday, claimed at least 22 lives. There are 16 crime scenes in five rural communities in central and northern Nova Scotia. The attack is considered the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history, surpassing the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, in which 14 women were killed.

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Juliet Norah

I am a freelance journalist is passionate about news. I derive pleasure in informing people about the happenings in the world

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