RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather, left, and Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman field questions a news conference at RCMP headquarters in Dartmouth, N.S. on Sunday, April 19, 2020. More than ten people have been killed, including RCMP Cst. Heidi Stevenson, after several incidents in Portapique, and other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

RCMP says it will look at how Nova Scotia public was warned of active shooter threat

At least 19 people were killed across 16 crime sites

Premier Stephen McNeil said Monday the province’s emergency alert system wasn’t used to warn people an active shooter was on the loose in northern Nova Scotia on the weekend because no request was received.

McNeil said the province’s Emergency Measures Organization has to be asked to issue an alert and that didn’t happen, but McNeil wasn’t about to place blame on the RCMP.

“This is a province in mourning. There will be lots of questions, but I can tell you I’m not going to second guess what someone with the organization did or didn’t do at this moment in time,” he said. “This was an active environment — deaths, gunfire — let’s give them an opportunity as an organization to explain that.”

Cpl. Lisa Croteau, an RCMP information officer, said the police force opted to use its Twitter account to warn people because the incident was unfolding.

The first tweet was sent at 11:32 p.m. local time Saturday and said police were “responding to a firearms complaint” in Portapique, N.S. ”The public is asked to avoid the area and stay in their homes with doors locked at this time.”

READ MORE: Probe into mass killing in Nova Scotia continues as names of victims emerge

The next message on the Nova Scotia RCMP Twitter account came at 6:02 a.m. Sunday, advising that police were still on the scene in Portapique and it was “an active shooter situation.” At 6:54 a.m. the suspect was identified in a tweet and a photo was published.

Chief Supt. Chris Leather Leather said the RCMP relied on Twitter because its account has thousands of followers and it was judged ”a superior way to communicate this ongoing threat.”

But he said the question of why the provincial alert system wasn’t used is a good one. “We’ll be looking at that … and I hope to have a more fulsome response tomorrow (Tuesday) or in the coming hours.”

Before being killed by police, the shooter claimed at least 19 lives, including that of RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson, at 16 locations across northern and central Nova Scotia, RCMP say.

In Ottawa, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said the question of how the threat was communicated will be looked at.

“In any incident such as this, we always have to look back at what we did,” she said. “Nobody can lose their life in vain, and Heidi will not lose her life in vain, nor will the (many) other victims.”

Lucki did not say whether the suspect had a firearms licence.

“We have to determine at each location what weapon was used,” she said. “Until we know exactly the cause of each death, we’re not in a position to say what types of weapons that the suspect was in possession of.”

READ MORE: Ban on assault-style guns top of mind for Trudeau, as Canada mourns Nova Scotia victims

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Mass shootingsNova ScotiaRCMPShooting

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seafest parade sails on June 27

Tides are turning during COVID-19 for Prince Rupert parade

SD 52 fires superintendent

Dr. Irene LaPierre removed from position immediately.

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Necropsy for Port Edward wolf is scheduled

Wolf sightings in Prince Rupert have increased

Wolf killed in Port Edward

Samples to be sent to lab. for testing

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Fraser Valley dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read