Calgarian Shelly Maclean is one of many people across the country left devastated following a 12-hour shooting spree that killed “in excess of 19” people in Nova Scotia over the weekend.
Now considered the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history, Maclean said she lost three family members during the horrific event: her cousin Aaron (Friar) Tuck, his wife Jolene Oliver and their 17-year-old daughter, Emily Tuck.
“Everybody is completely consumed in grief and sadness at this point,” Maclean said during an interview with 770 CHQR.
“Jolene, his wife is from Calgary and they met here and then moved back there [to Nova Scotia]. They’ve been together for 23 years.”
On Monday, The Canadian Press confirmed the three as victims of the shooting.
On Saturday, Nova Scotia RCMP responded to a firearms call at a residence in Portapique, N.S., where members located “several casualties inside and outside of the home.”
Police described the matter as a “quickly evolving situation and a chaotic scene” and continued to search for the active shooter for 12 hours.
Police said there were multiple crime scenes spread out over a large area. The search ended at the Enfield Big Stop on Highway 102, about 90 kilometres away from Portapique.
On Sunday, police confirmed the alleged shooter, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, has also died.
LISTEN: A family of three in Nova Scotia were killed in the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history
Maclean said she first heard of her family’s casualties from residents near the shooting at around 11 p.m. on Sunday evening.
She said the hardest part of the situation is being confined to Calgary — due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic –during her family’s time of need.
“It’s horrible because you want to be there,” she said.
“Not being able to go in a time like this is really difficult because it’s such a tight community. Everybody wants to come together at a time like this.”
Maclean added that even though she can’t be there, she knows the surrounding community will be rallying to make sure support is offered to those in need.
“With the whole community, they would figure out a way to use technology to come together — certainly staying within the rules and guidelines — and still be able to support each other,” she said.
“I just know from being down there, that everybody is definitely coming together with a sense of support.”
On Monday, victim Jolene Oliver’s sister, Tammy Oliver-McCurdie, set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the funeral costs of the three family members.
“My sister’s family is all in Alberta and we need to hold a funeral there in Nova Scotia and one in Alberta for family,” the post read.
In just 15 hours, the page raised more than $36,000.
At a news conference to update Albertans about the province’s COVID-19 response on Monday, Premier Jason Kenney offered his condolences to all the shooting victims’ families.
“We pray for those who are struggling with wounds in hospital right now in Nova Scotia, and join all Canadians in condemning this act of unbridled evil,” he said.
Kenney also paid a special tribute to Calgary native, Oliver and her daughter Emily.
“Jolene’s sister, Tammy Oliver-McCurdie lives in Red Deer and she reports that Emily — her niece — was a musician who played the violin. She was trying to choose between music and welding for her post-secondary education,” Kenney said.
“She didn’t even get to live her life. She had so much potential, she was so smart, so caring and so humble.
“That gives us just one small picture into one of the victims.”