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Multiple people dead after ‘senseless’ Canadian shootings

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A man in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia shot and killed multiple people, including at least one police officer, during a 12-hour rampage, two domestic media outlets reported on Sunday.

CTV television, citing witnesses, said police had shot dead the suspected gunman at a gas station. Police said earlier they had arrested 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman after a car chase on suspicion of shooting several people, whose conditions they did not specify.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the incident occurred in the small Atlantic coastal town of Portapique, about 130 km north (80 miles) of the provincial capital, Halifax.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp and Global News both reported that “multiple people” were dead.

“This is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history,” Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters without giving details.

A spokeswoman for the RCMP in Nova Scotia declined to comment on the media reports. Police were due to give a news conference at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT).

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking to reporters in Ottawa, deplored what he called “a terrible situation.”

Mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada, which has tighter gun control laws than the United States.

According to the websites of the Denturist Society of Nova Scotia and the province’s Better Business Bureau, Wortman operated a denture clinic in Dartmouth, close to Halifax.

Portapique residents said the first sign of trouble occurred on Saturday night when police urged everyone to stay indoors. One man said he saw at least three separate fires.

A local resident said she had come across two burning police vehicles while out driving on Sunday.

“There was one officer we could see on scene and then all of a sudden, he went running toward one of the burning vehicles,” Darcy Sack told the CBC. “We heard gunshots.”

Police initially said Wortman was driving what appeared to be a police car and was wearing a uniform, but later reported he was at the wheel of a Chevrolet sport utility vehicle.

The worst mass shooting in Canada in recent years occurred in January 2017, when a man killed six people at an Islamic cultural center in Quebec City.

In August 2018, a man in the province of New Brunswick, which borders Nova Scotia, fatally shot four people, including two police officers. In June 2014, in the same province, a man shot three police officers to death.

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