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Family, colleagues grieve victims of Canada's deadliest mass shooting

Last Updated Apr 20, 2020 at 1:14 pm EDT

FILE - RCMP cruisers in the parking lot of the Enfield Big Stop (Chris Halef/HalifaxToday.ca/News97.5)
Summary

Loved ones of victims killed in Canada's deadliest shooting are posting moving tributes


19 people were killed by a gunman, who began his rampage on Saturday evening before he was brought down by officers


Among those killed are a nurse, a teacher, and an RCMP officer


HALIFAX (NEWS 1130) – An unspeakable act of violence in Nova Scotia has left much of the country in shock, and looking for answers.

At least 19 victims lost their lives during a 12-hour killing spree, which only ended when RCMP officers took out the lone suspect at a gas station north of Halifax.

As families and friends grieve the loss of loved ones, we’re now starting to learn who some of these victims were.

The Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union has confirmed that Lisa McCully — an elementary school teacher in Delbert — was among those killed in the attack.

“Teachers join all Nova Scotians in grief over the catastrophic deaths rocking our province,” a statement from the president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, Paul Wozney, reads.

Saying there are “no words to capture the loss Nova Scotia has suffered,” the union extended condolences to all those who lost someone in the shooting spree, adding this is a time when people need to come together to support one another.

“This is a devastating time for all communities affected across our province. Let’s reach out to those in our circle who have seen loved ones lost or injured and offer our love and support.”

A nurse from Truro, Heather O’Brien, was identified by family as well as her employer as one of other people killed in the attack.

Her daughter took to Facebook to write, “The pain comes and goes in waves. I feel like I’m outside of my own body. This can’t be real.”

According to VON Canada, her employer, the grandmother shared a “deep caring of others as a VON nurse for nearly 17 years.”

VON Canada also confirmed a continuing care assistant, Kristen Beaton — a “young wife and mother” — was also killed in the shooting.

“Kristen began work with VON nearly six years ago and like Heather, was a caring and compassionate member of the VON team,” a statement from the president and CEO reads. “All of our frontline care providers are heroes. Yesterday, two of those heroes, Heather O’Brien and Kristen Beaton, were taken from their families, and from VON. We mourn their loss, and we mourn for their families.”

Greg and Jamie Blair are also being remembered by family members, with one post reading, “Two beautiful souls were lost today… and many more. I have absolutely no words for the heartache my family & many others are going through.”

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An unspeakable act of violence in Nova Scotia has left much of the country in shock, and looking for answers. Eighteen people lost their lives during a 12-hour killing spree, which only ended when RCMP officers took out the lone suspect at a gas station north of Halifax. As families and friends grieve the loss of loved ones, we’re now starting to learn who some of these victims were. The Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union has confirmed Lisa McCully (bottom left) — an elementary school teacher in Delbert — was among those killed in the attack. Saying there are “no words to capture the loss Nova Scotia has suffered,” the union extended condolences to all those who lost someone in the shooting spree. A nurse from Truro, Heather O’Brien (top right), was identified by family as well as her employer as one of other people killed in the attack. Her daughter took to Facebook to write, “The pain comes and goes in waves. I feel like I’m outside of my own body. This can’t be real.” According to VON Canada, her employer, the grandmother shared a “deep caring of others as a VON nurse for nearly 17 years.” Greg and Jamie Blair (top right) are also being remembered by family members, with one post reading, “Two beautiful souls were lost today… and many more. I have absolutely no words for the heartache my family & many others are going through.” Meanwhile, it was confirmed by the RCMP that Cst. Heidi Stevenson (bottom left), a 23-year veteran of the force, was killed while responding to the call this weekend. She leaves behind a son and daughter, both of whom are in grade school. Full story online. Link in bio. Photo credits: Facebook, Nova Scotia RCMP handout #NEWS1130 #NovaScotia #NovaScotiaShooting #NovaScotiaStrong #NSStrong #Portapique #RCMP #Canada

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Meanwhile, it was confirmed by the RCMP that Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force, was killed while responding to the call this weekend.

The statement from the teachers union, which was posted Sunday, also pays tribute to her.

“Constable Stevenson is the wife of our brother, Dean Stevenson, who teaches at Cole Harbour District High School and loving mother to two children,” Wozney writes. “We send our love and care to them as they face this sudden news.”

Stevenson also leaves behind two children — a son and daughter, both of whom are in grade school. She may have been a familiar face in Nova Scotia, having done interviews with the media.

“Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served,” Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman said on Sunday. “The impact of this incident will extend from one end of this province to the other. As Nova Scotians, we have to do what we are known for. And come together in times of need and support one another.”

You can expect to see police officers right across the country to be donning a blue ribbon, a sign of support for the fallen Mountie.

Departments and politicians in Canada have already begun to share their messages of support and unity online.

The shooting began on Saturday evening with a firearms complaint in Portapique.

When they arrived, officers reportedly found “several casualties” inside and outside a home in the area, but the suspect was not there. The suspect led police on a lengthy chase, and at one point, the 51-year-old wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruise while on his killing spree across the province’s northern area. He was killed after being intercepted by officers at a gas station in Enfield, N.S.

Police have said it will take a long time to chronicle everything that occurred during the rampage, which is now the deadliest shooting in Canadian history.

“This is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history,” Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said, asking those in need of answers to be patient. “Words cannot console the families affected by what has transpired.”

Editor’s note: This article has been edited to update the number of people killed. According to RCMP, there are at least 19 victims, all of whom are adults, from 16 different crime scenes.