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

Walnut Grove’s Shawn Meehan (front) has started another band, Trigger Mafia. This local country rocker has put country on the shelf, and is going hard-core rock with this group, releasing their first single last Friday to radio. It started as a way to pass the time during the COVID lockdown, and evolved. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Langley musician drives rock revival with COVID twist

Trigger Mafia goes straight from the garage to radio with raw lyrics

Statue of Lady Justice outside B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Black Press Media files)
Accused mother was sad, frustrated, not eating before daughter’s death, court hears

The accused’s ex-boyfriend talked about her state of mind

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Newbie Conservative candidate split Langley East vote and allowed socialist ‘hordes’ to win seat

Letter writer suggests candidate should have ‘earned’ his political stripes before running for office

Brian Edward Abrosimo, a convicted child kidnapper. (VPD photo)
Child kidnapper threatened to slit his own throat in halfway house

Brian Abrosimo had his release revoked in August

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Sex offender who viewed underage girls as slaves has prohibitions cut from 20 to 10 years

Appeal court reviewed the case of Kyler Bryan David Williams, 29

Most Read