UPDATE: Early Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at least 18 people were killed in the shooting rampage that began in Portapique on Saturday night.
RCMP say one of their own is included among at least 10 victims of shooting rampage in rural Nova Scotia this weekend.
At a news conference Sunday evening, RCMP Commanding Officer Lee Bergerman confirmed Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year member of the Force, died while responding to an active shooter incident earlier today.
"Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served," said Bergerman.
Officer Stevenson was a wife, mother of two, and had previously served as a community liaison officer with Halifax District RCMP.
A second RCMP officer has been taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. They have not been identified by officials.
"He and his family will be supported and we will be alongside him as he begins his road to recovery," said Bergerman.
Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said Mounties received multiple 911 reports Saturday evening and were called to a residence in Portapique late Saturday night. Responding officers found several casualties inside and outside of a home.
Police say the search for the suspect continued overnight and into the morning at multiple sites, including "structures that were on fire."
"This is an extremely difficult day for the RCMP and for the families who have been affected by these tragedies," said Nova Scotia RCMP’s Criminal Operations Officer Chief Superintendent Chris Leather.
Leather added there are multiple victims at several locations "scattered across the province."
"In excess of 10 people have been killed, but the investigation is still ongoing and I expect to have more details in that regard in the coming days," Leather said.
"We're not fully aware of what that total may be because, as we're standing here, the investigation continues in areas that we've not yet explored across the province," he added.
Early Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at least 18 people are now cofirmed to have been killed.
Police also said there are at least two injured victims who survived, but there could be more.
"It's quite possible that victims checked themselves into area hospitals and the investigation has not quite caught up with that," said Leather.
RCMP confirmed the suspected gunman, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, is deceased. He is the sole suspect and RCMP say they cannot speak to his motivations at this time.
"We are in the early stages of an incredibly detailed and complex investigation," said Leather.
As is protocol when a person dies in police custody, the incident has been referred to the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT).
Nova Scotia's premier is describing the active shooter situation as "one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province's history."
Stephen McNeil ended his Sunday COVID-19 update by calling this a "devastating day."
"It's okay to be sad, it's okay to be angry and it's okay to feel helpless, but what's not okay is to bear all of those feelings alone," he said.
The premier is encouraging Nova Scotians to reach out to friends, family and neighbours, or to call the provincial crisis line at 1-888-429-8167, which is toll-free.
"What happened here in our province is not who we are," McNeil said. "It may change us a little, but it can not define us."
"We are strong, we are community-minded and we take care of each other, so let's do that now. Let's do that together."