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 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

Tiny packets of carrots ready to be distributed in Victoria. (Submitted/Victoria Seed Share)
Free Victoria seed sharing collective bags work experience funding

Fully volunteer run Victoria Seed Share will get a boost from provincial grant

Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Photo courtesy Dan Wood)
PHOTOS: Saanich firefighters free trapped workers at Uptown Walmart

Incident reported as explosion after driver rammed through wall

Beach fires are not permitted in Saanich but portable, gas-powered fire pits are welcome everywhere – including at municipal parks and beaches. (Pixabay)
Beach fires not cool in Saanich but gas-powered fire pits permitted

Respect others, bylaws while still enjoying an outdoor fire, firefighter says

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Police are investigating after a man was shot Thursday, April 8 while sitting in a car in Vancouver. (Black Press files)
Man shot in Vancouver while sitting in a parked car: police

The victim is currently in critical condition. Police say no arrests have been made.

Teachers from SD42 and other districts in the Lower Mainland flocked to Surrey on Tuesday in the hopes of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (Sheelagh Brothers/Twitter)
Don’t line up for vaccines unless asked to come, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

Social media post shows teachers lining up outside of Surrey clinic for leftover doses

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP is seeking public tips regarding a break-in that left multiple people injured in Vernon Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Cariboo teacher charged in child exploitation case

Charge laid against teacher at Peter Skene Ogden

Most Read