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

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dry-grad cancelled, Elgin Park students make donation to food bank

Students donate $1,800 to food bank after being forced to cancel graduation event

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

MAY 23: There is an outbreak at a Lower Mainland fruit processing plant

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read