Canadian police officials said on Wednesday that they failed to issue a timely public alert about the gunman responsible for the Nova Scotia shooting rampage last weekend that left 22 dead.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said officers were informed by a witness on Sunday, between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., that the gunman was likely driving a lookalike police car and wearing an RCMP uniform.At that point, police said they started the process of issuing an alert but it took several hours to make its way up the chain of command. Nearly three hours later, an alert had still not been issued.
“Nova Scotia emergency management officials contacted the RCMP to supply the utilization of the general public emergency alerting system,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said during a news conference Wednesday. “We were within the process of preparing an alert when the gunman was shot and killed by the RCMP.”The gunman, Gabriel Wortman, led police on a miles-long, 12-hour manhunt across the Canadian province . He died after a confrontation with police, the RCMP said.
Police officials have generated some backlash from victims families for not issuing the alert via mobile , TV and radio.”I wouldn’t have let my wife leave … if I had that broadcast encounter , that he was on the loose and he was driving an RCMP vehicle,” Nick Beaton, whose wife, Kristen, was killed by the gunman, told CNN partner CBC.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the failure to issue an alert would be a part of a bigger investigation.
“I think there are many families grieving incredible losses immediately who are asking themselves questions on how things could are different, how they could are ready to be warned earlier,” Trudeau said during a news conference Wednesday. “Those are extremely important questions that i do know are going to be addressed through the investigation’s conclusions.”
The gunman was wearing either an RCMP uniform or a convincing replica, while driving a car that seemed to be a police vehicle, Leather said earlier in the week .Officials on Wednesday said they’re looking into whether the gunman, who drove a “very real” looking cruiser , pulled drivers over and executed victims.
“That is certainly a neighborhood of our investigation,” Leather said. “That’s again a priority and something that we’re watching very closely.”
RCMP also said the gunman seemed to have acted alone. He didn’t have a license to have or operate a firearm, though police said that’s still being investigated.”We are continuing to research whether anyone may have assisted him leading up to the incident,” Leather said.The police refused to disclose what sorts of guns were utilized in the mass killings, specifically, whether a handgun was used.
Police are still investigating 16 crime scenes after last weekend’s shootings, include five where devastating fires were set by the suspected gunman, police believe.The rampage began when police were called a few “firearms complaint” at a property within the quiet town of Portapique on Cobequid Bay on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. ET).
Police found several casualties in and out of doors the residence, Leather said earlier in the week . Other bodies were found at a number of the hearth sites.
Source: CNN NEWS