A briefing from Nova Scotia RCMP on Monday afternoon confirmed that the death toll in the Nova Scotia shootings now totals at least 19.
“We continue to gather information and seek out answers, but we can confirm now that there are in excess of 19 victims,” said Nova Scotia RCMP’s Criminal Operations Officer Chief Superintendent Chris Leather.
The victims are both men and women, and Leather says all were adults.
“It appears that some of the victims were known to the suspect and other targets were not known to the suspect,” he told the public.
Leather says police are currently at 16 different crime scenes related to the Portapique shootings spread across the Northern and Central part of the province.
“We have teams working on several aspects of the investigation,” Leather said. “Some of this includes collecting interviews, processing various crime scenes at various locations, conducting extensive analytical work, and we’re also conducting several searches.”
At least five structure fires, most of them residences, are being investigated by RCMP at this time.
Leather said the number of victims could increase as these crime scenes are processed.
“We believe there may be victims still within the remains of those homes which were burned,” he said.
RCMP confirmed that the officer who was injured in yesterday’s events is Chad Morrison, an 11-year member of the force.
“[He] is now recovering at home from gunshot wounds. This is obviously good news and we will be there to provide support throughout the member’s recovery process,” said Leather.
Police have also opened an email specifically to send condolences regarding the passing of constable Heidi Stevenson, who Leather called “a true hero.”
“To the families and loved ones of all the victims, please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your loved ones,” he said.
In addition to the death of the suspect yesterday, police say they have now referred two additional investigations to the Serious Incident Response Team. Leather said both cases involved a “use of force” on behalf of police.
“Because there are SiRT matters I will be unable to provide more details,” Leather said.
Police say they are still working to contact the families of the deceased and will not be releasing the identities of the victims until that work is complete.
Kids Help Phone also offers support over the phone or by text for youth and adults. Call 1-800-668-6868 or text 686868.
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