Canada’s Deadliest Shooting : The Memorials

Imagine you are filling up with gas. All of a sudden you look over and next to you is someone who looks like the shooter. You turn to someone else and say, “hey, doesn’t that look like the shooter?”. Before your partner has a chance to respond, you turn your head back. What you see tho is not him continuing to stop for gas. But a gun being raised in your direction. You are not a regular joe filling up with gas. You are a member of the RCMP Emergency Response Team.

This was the start of what would lead to the gun shootout with Gabriel Wortman at the Irving Big Stop in Enfield, Nova Scotia according to an RCMP Member.

Earlier on day 1, I had been speaking with an RCMP Member from Cape Breton and asked if gas tanks would explode if they were shot. His response was a simple one, “It’s not like the movies”.

The first day had come to an end and we had learned so much thanks to the tough work of the RCMP officers. We had been aware there were many crime scenes and the shooter had travelled further than 150km in his senseless rampage.

The tragic death toll was increasing. Heidi Stevenson was popular and well-loved. She was the RCMP member that was tragically killed.

According to a CBC PEI Reporter, Heidi had family on PEI. She also loved Stanhope beach. Over the course of day 1, I had heard so much love for Heidi. And not just from RCMP Members in the Halifax or Enfield area, but RCMP officers stationed all over.

When a RCMP Member passes away on duty, the RCMP has a regimental funeral. It is incredibly powerful to watch and attend. Police officers from the USA, Britain, and Australia attended the last one in the Maritimes along with the Governor General and Prime Minister. CBC had a special broadcast of the entire thing being held at the Moncton coliseum which had room for 6500. In addition, remote sites were set up for viewing. The RCMP is a family, along with numerous other agencies.

Back to day 2. After passing through 2 checkpoints (entering into New Brunswick and then into Nova Scotia), I continued on and my first scene was the flags at the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick border being lowered to half-mast.

My next stop was back to Portapique. This time things were a bit different. A lady was in her car. She was there for her friend whose parents lived down the Portapique Beach Road. Her friend had not heard from his parents since the incident. She was desperate to find out information on his parents. This was saddening to hear when she described that his parent’s house was missing. She could view where the house was by taking another road. I could too. I snapped a few pictures.

From Portapique, I went on to visit Debert Elementary School. Lisa McCully was a teacher at the school and a victim of this tragic incident. On Day 1, Dave Brown spoke highly of Lisa as he was setting up a memorial.

From here, I went to Bible Hill. After a conversation with the Reuter’s editor, I was to get photos of the memorials. Bible Hill was the location of the command post after they moved it from Great Village. I stopped here and the memorial was just starting.

Next stop, which at the time there was an online petition circulating. The petition wanted the smile signage removed from the side of the building as well as the windows covered of the Atlantic Denture Clinic in Dartmouth. It was where the shooter worked.

From the Denture clinic, it was off to the RCMP Nova Scotia Headquarters.

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