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Suspect in Nova Scotia shooting was killed as RCMP wrote emergency alert: police

Nova Scotia RCMP say the man who killed at least 22 people at 16 locations was shot by police as they were writing an emergency alert.

“At 10:15 a.m., Nova Scotia provincial emergency management officials contacted the RCMP to offer the use of the public emergency alerting system,” RCMP Chief Supt. Chris Leather said Wednesday.

“We were in the process of preparing an alert when the gunman was shot and killed by the RCMP.”

READ MORE: There was an active shooter. Why didn’t Nova Scotia send an emergency alert?

Leather said they communicated with the public through their Twitter account, which allowed information to be “shared, followed and broadcasted by local, provincial and national news outlets.”

Nova Scotia shooting: RCMP were in ‘process’ of preparing emergency alert when suspect was killed
Nova Scotia shooting: RCMP were in ‘process’ of preparing emergency alert when suspect was killed

Leather said their response was “dynamic and fluid,” with their members encountering “the unimaginable.”

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Collectively, RCMP employees had one objective and that was to protect Nova Scotians and each other by stopping the threat,” Leather said. “At 11:26 the gunman was killed by the RCMP.”

READ MORE: Here’s what we know about the victims of the Nova Scotia mass shooting

The RCMP confirmed that they have concluded that the shooter acted alone, but they are still investigating whether he had assistance prior to the rampage.

RCMP ‘very close’ to providing manhunt timeline

Nova Scotia RCMP say they will soon be providing a timeline detailing how the events transpired Saturday night into Sunday.

“I would like nothing more than to provide the media and public with the timeline, but it literally is still a work in progress,” Leather said. “It would be unfair and inappropriate to give that out in its current state.”

“We are very close, I would say within a day, of providing a timeline with some detail.”

Nova Scotia shooting: RCMP say issues of ‘communication’ and ‘consultation’ delayed emergency alert
Nova Scotia shooting: RCMP say issues of ‘communication’ and ‘consultation’ delayed emergency alert

Leather added that investigators are still in the process of piecing together the movements of the shooter at the 16 crime scenes.

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“We believe we have identified the locations and sites that he attended and when he did, but there certainly are gaps.”

READ MORE: ‘She had such a big, full life,’ says friend of Nova Scotia shooting victim

In an updated timeline released Wednesday, RCMP said members first responded to a possible shooting in Portapique at 10:26 p.m. on Saturday.

“It was determined to be a homicide and we immediately started searching the area and advising residents to stay inside,” Leather said, adding they did so through Twitter.

“As we searched the area, we discovered additional victims and several structure fires. We established a perimeter and our search continued into the evening and early morning hours on Sunday.”

Leather says they received new information Sunday morning that the suspect wasn’t within their secured perimeter.

The RCMP began providing real-time information on its Twitter account, Leather said. He says police received confirmation about who the suspect was at 9:35 a.m. after a key witness was located and interviewed.

“Prior to that, we did not have all those details,” Leather said. “The bulk of the details about our suspect came at that time.”

Nova Scotia shooting: RCMP know Nova Scotia residents have ‘a lot of questions’ about force’s response
Nova Scotia shooting: RCMP know Nova Scotia residents have ‘a lot of questions’ about force’s response

Leather says that’s when police learned the suspect was driving a mock-up RCMP cruiser and at least part of a police uniform. RCMP confirmed Tuesday that they now believe the uniform to be authentic.

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READ MORE: Evacuation centre peppered with bullets morning of Nova Scotia mass shooting

Police say around when they interviewed the key witness, they also received word about a possible female victim on Highway 4 in Wentworth, about 40 kilometres northeast of Portapique.

“Throughout this time the RCMP were able to broadcast photos of the suspect, suspect vehicle, locations and sightings,” Leather said.

“Collectively, RCMP employees had one objective and that was to protect Nova Scotians and each other by stopping the threat.”

Leather said the suspect was shot dead by police at 11:26 a.m.

RCMP ‘satisfied’ with information relayed to public

Speaking at Wednesday’s briefing, Leather says he is “very satisfied” with the messaging that was relayed on Twitter and the communication between members during the hunt.

“Remember, until the following day, we had some idea where the suspect was located, some theories, but we had no idea,” Leather said.

“The communications that were being provided were the best and clearest information that could be provided.”

Nova Scotia shooting: RCMP say they’re ‘very satisfied’ with social media messaging during shooting rampage
Nova Scotia shooting: RCMP say they’re ‘very satisfied’ with social media messaging during shooting rampage