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Police arrest active shooter after pursuit in Nova Scotia, and 'multiple victims'

A suspect in an active shooter investigation is in custody in Nova Scotia, with police saying several people were harmed before a man wearing police clothing was arrested. Gabriel Wortman was arrested by the RCMP at the Irving Big Stop in Enfield, N.

A suspect in an active shooter investigation is in custody in Nova Scotia, with police saying several people were harmed before a man wearing police clothing was arrested.

Gabriel Wortman was arrested by the RCMP at the Irving Big Stop in Enfield, N.S., about 35 km west of downtown Halifax.

Police didn't immediately say how many victims there were, or the nature of their injuries.

The RCMP stated earlier in the day the suspect was driving a car that looks like a police vehicle, but by 11 a.m. local time he was "believed to be driving a small, silver Chevrolet SUV," travelling southbound on Highway 102.

The Mounties had asked residents in the area of the rural town of Portapique, where the incident began on Saturday night, to stay in their homes with doors locked and to call if anyone was seen in the area about 40 km west of Truro.

Cpl. Lisa Croteau, public information officer with the provincial force, confirmed a tweet saying there are "multiple victims" but could not provide a number or say whether any people had been killed.

The RCMP posted an update on Twitter just after 10:15 a.m., warning that the male suspect was in the Debert and Central Oslow area and may be dressed as a police officer in a police lookalike vehicle.

In an earlier tweet, the police force identified the suspect as Wortman, describing him as "armed and dangerous."

A Gabriel Wortman is listed as a denturist in Dartmouth, according to the Denturist Society of Nova Scotia website. A suspect photo issued by the RCMP matches video footage of a man being interviewed about dentures by CTV Atlantic in 2014.

Tom Taggart, a councillor who represents the Portapique area on the Municipality of Colchester, said the quiet community has been shaken.

"This is just an absolutely wonderful, peaceful quiet community and the idea that this could happen in our community is unbelievable," Taggart said by phone from his home in Bass River, about three km from the lockdown area.

"People live here because of the peace and quiet and it's just an absolute tragedy."

Taggart said he didn't know Wortman well, but spoke to him a few times when he telephoned about municipal issues.

Taggart described knowing Wortman's "lovely big home" on Portapique Beach Road. He said Wortman owned a few other properties in the community and was believed to divide his time between Portapique and his business in Dartmouth.

He described Portapique as "cottage country," with about 100 year-round residents and 250 in the summer.

"You just don't even dream that this is going to happen," he said. "I can't fathom it." 

Wortman is described as a six-foot-two white man, bald with green eyes.

Police identified Wortman about nine hours after an initial tweet around midnight asking people to avoid the Portapique area and stay indoors as officers responded to a firearms complaint.

Croteau said the police received a call about "a person with firearms" at around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and the investigation "evolved into an active shooting investigation."

She said there are several officers from across the province on the scene.

She said some people were evacuated around Portapique Beach Road, Bay Shore Road and Five Houses Road, where the first complaint initiated.

— With files from Holly McKenzie-Sutter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2020.

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

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