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Home / Toronto / News / Toronto honours those who lost their lives in Nova Scotia massacre, Canada to hold virtual vigil

Toronto honours those who lost their lives in Nova Scotia massacre, Canada to hold virtual vigil


TORONTO, ON., APRIL 20, 2020 –– Following, yesterday’s horrific tragedy in Nova Scotia, the entire country is in mourning for the 22 lives lost at 16 or more crime scenes in what marks Canada’s deadliest massacre in history, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced that the flags at City Hall, Metro Hall and all Toronto civic centres will be flown at half mast.

Toronto’s mayor also said the lights will be dimmed on the giant Toronto sign in front City Hall. The Mayor said the city of Toronto is “Sending the love and support of our entire city to Nova Scotia in the wake of this terrible tragedy.”

Meanwhile, this morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement on the tragedy in Portapique, Nova Scotia, a seaside town of 1,600 residents.

“I was saddened to learn about the senseless violence in Nova Scotia, which claimed the lives of multiple people, including one member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Force. Our hearts go out to the people who have lost loved ones, and to the RCMP family mourning a fallen officer. I also hope for a full recovery for the people who were injured, including one RCMP member who is in hospital being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

“Every day, law enforcement members put themselves in harm’s way to ensure our safety and well-being. I thank them, and all first responders, for their unwavering dedication, professionalism, and service, and for always being there for us.

“As a country, in moments like these, we come together to support one another. Together we will mourn with the families of the victims, and help them get through this difficult time.

“Earlier today, I spoke with the RCMP Commissioner and the Premier of Nova Scotia to offer my condolences, on behalf of the Government of Canada. The people of Nova Scotia are strong and resilient, and we will be here to support them as they heal from this tragedy.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also requested that all media avoid mentioning the name of the 51-year-old killer, who was a denturist who grew up in New Brunswick, studied to be a mortician in university and set up denture practices in Dartmouth and Halifax Nova Scotia.

Speaking in front of Rideau Cottage today Justin Trudeau also said that although the pandemic will prevent Canada from mourning in person, a virtal vigil will be held at 7 pm on Friday.

“Violence of any kind has no place in Canada,” said Trudeau both to Nova Scotians and fellow Canadians. “We stand with you and we grieve with you.”

The killing rampage began late Saturday night in rural Portapique, where the murderer owns property. Police officers responded to 911 calls about gunfire. The perpetrator was killed Sunday by the RCMP, after a 12-hour 55 km manhunt ending with his death at the Irving gas station and Big Stop restaurant in Enfield Nova Scotia, Sunday.

The killer who went on the rampage through several towns while heading towards Halifax, was obsessed with the police from a young age. He collected RCMP memorabilia including the squad cars and uniform that he wore to commit the tragic murders. He killed neighbours, friends and burned down homes, including his next door neighbour’s house along with the homeowners.

He was originally travelling in a refurbished RCMP squad and then switched to a small silver SUV while attempting to flee from the police.

“This is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history,” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.

Although the investigation is ongoing some of those who lost their lives in the horrific tragedy have been named, including Constable Heidi Stevenson a beloved 23-year veteran of the Nova Scotia RCMP who was shot in the line of duty, in pursuit of the assailant.

She was a married mother of two children, aged 10 and 13.

“Today is a devastating day for Nova Scotia and it will remain etched in the minds of many, for years to come,” said Lee Bergerman, Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner,

“What has unfolded overnight and into this morning is incomprehensible and many families are experiencing the loss of a loved one. That includes our own RCMP family. It is with tremendous sadness that I share with you that we lost Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Force who was killed this morning, while responding to an active shooter incident.”

Toronto and all of Canada mourn the victims of the Portapique, Nova Scotia tragedy. images posted by CP24

Other known Nova Scotia community members who lost their lives in the massacre included: Lisa McCully a much loved Grade 3/4 teacher at Debert Elementary School, about 20 kilometres west of Truro. also Heather O’Brien who was a nurse in Truro, Corrie Ellison who was a social worker in Truro, Kristen Beaton a nurse in Debert, Gina Goulet who was a denturist in Shubenacadie, Sean McLeod and his stepmother Alanna Jenkins of Wentworth, Emily Tuck, Jolene Oliver and Aaron (Friar) Tuck as well Tony Bagley of Wentworth who was a veteran and retired firefighter. Jamie and Greg Blair were also killed in the massacre, as well as John Zahl and Elizabeth Joanne Thomas who are presumed dead in a house fire.

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