16 dead in Nova Scotia shooting, Canadian authorities say

"The impact of the incident will extend from one end of the province to the other," an officer said.

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By Doha Madani and Tim Stelloh

A gunman killed at least 16 people, including a police officer, and evaded authorities for hours while dressed as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in rural Nova Scotia in what was Canada's deadliest shooting in three decades, officials said Sunday.

The suspect, identified as Gabriel Wortman, 51, was killed after a lengthy manhunt, said Chris Leather, the criminal operations officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia.

Commanding Officer Lee Bergerman identified the officer as Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force. She was married with two children. Another officer was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Bergerman said.

"The impact of the incident will extend from one end of the province to the other," Bergerman told reporters.

Earlier Sunday, authorities said Wortman had killed at least 10 people and later revised the number to 16.

Gabriel Wortman.RCMP Nova Scotia

Police went to a home in the small rural community of Portapique on Saturday night in response to multiple 911 calls, Leather said. On arrival, they found several bodies inside and outside the home but no suspect, Leather said. Police said additional bodies were found at other locations.

The relationship between the victims and the suspect wasn't immediately clear. Leather declined to specify a potential motive, saying it was too early in the investigation. He said the shooting appeared to be random, but he added that Wortman was wearing a police uniform and driving a "mock-up" of a Mountie cruiser when he fled the scene.

Authorities believe he may have targeted his first victims but then began attacking randomly.

An initial search for Wortman led to multiple structures that were on fire, Leather said. The search later continued to "multiple" communities around Nova Scotia.

Wortman was located Sunday morning and is now dead, Leather said. Authorities didn't say how he died, but did say there was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and police.

A firefighter douses hotspots near destroyed vehicles Monday linked to the deadly shooting rampage the day before in Wentworth Centre, Nova Scotia. Tim Krochak / Getty Images

Tom Taggart, a council member in the Municipality of Colchester County, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that Portapique was a "beautiful, quiet, rural community" with about 100 to 250 residents.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a written statement that he was "saddened" by the loss of life. “As a country, in moments like these, we come together to support one another. Together we will mourn with the families of the victims, and help them get through this difficult time,” he said.

The shooting is one of the worst in Canada's history. The country overhauled its gun-control measures after a gunman killed 14 women and himself at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique college in 1989. This weekend's shooting is the deadliest since then.

CORRECTION (April 19, 2020, 8:40 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of a council member in the Municipality of Colchester County, Nova Scotia. He is Tom Taggart, not Taggert.

Elisha Fieldstadt and Associated Press contributed.