Island Nova Scotians reflect on mass shooting in home province

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SILVER WATER – Thankfully, they are not directly connected to any of the victims of the worst mass killing in Canadian history, which took place in Nova Scotia this past weekend, however Colin Frame and Reverend Janice Frame do have family in Nova Scotia, where it started and where it ended, with the perpetrator being shot by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
 “There are connections,” Rev. Frame told the Recorder this past Monday, two days after the rampage took place. “Until we know the rest of the names of the victims we won’t know if we have a closer connection, but where the suspect was apprehended and killed (by the RCMP) at the service station (Enfield, Nova Scotia) is a place where Colin’s parents frequent very often for gas fill-ups and where they often have lunch in the very popular attached restaurant. It is 10 kilometres from where Colin’s parents live.” 

“And one of victims, Lisa McCully, is the daughter of a good friend of my mom’s,” Rev. Frame told the Recorder.

So far, a total of 23 innocent people lost their lives during the gunman’s, 51-year-old suspect Gabriel Wortman, 12-hour rampage which began Saturday evening and lasted into Sunday morning in several different locations across northern Nova Scotia. One of those killed was Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Police were first called to a situation involving a man with a firearm Saturday night and they say at one point the suspect was dressed in what appeared to be an RCMP uniform and drove what looked like an RCMP vehicle. Along with the shootings, five structure fires took place as well.

A motivation for the shooting has yet to be determined, according to RCMP, and it’s not known if COVID-19 played a role in what happened.

Police say they are in the early stages of what will be a detailed investigation and will provide updates in the coming days.

Rev. Frame explained, “Colin’s parents live in Grand Lake, which is a residential community where the suspect was taken down. And my parents live outside of Truro, which is 40 kilometres from where the final shooting took place, but where the whole thing started.”

“The reports are saying this was the largest mass shooting in Canadian history—in my little province!” said Rev. Frame. “The communities are all very small.” 

She pointed out, “Manitoulin Island is like Nova Scotia, even more so in that the communities are very close knit and everyone knows each other and to lose one person in the community has a major affect. All these families are understandably in shock and mourning. I am just sick thinking about all of this.” 

Rev. Frame said both she and Colin have talked to their parents and family members to make sure they are okay.

Portapique, Nova Scotia (where the shooting spree began) has a year-round population of around 100 people, and 250 people in the summer, said Rev. Frame. 

Rev. Frame had sent out an email to several members of the community Sunday evening noting in part, “although the Frame and MacDonald families are not directly affected, the ripples of bewilderment and grief will be felt as they would be anywhere that finds itself in the middle of such a tragedy. And I know you join me in prayers of healing for the families and communities that are—no doubt—devastated by this horrific vent.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement on Sunday on the shooting.
“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,” wrote Prime Minister Trudeau. “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.” He added, “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.”