Canada witnessed its worst shooting in over three decades after a gunman went berserk, killing 16 people including police personnel in the eastern Nova Scotia province. The assailant was later gunned down by police personnel, putting an end to an over 12-hours of manhunt.

What is known about Nova Scotia shooting?

Gabriel Wortman
Gabriel Wortman, the 51-year old Nova Scotia gunman Twitter/RCMP, Nova Scotia

Several people were killed at Portapique, a small rural town in Canada's eastern province of Nova Scotia. Authorities were alerted on Saturday night, when the gunman attacked his first victim. As the threat grew, the police advised residents to remain indoors with doors locked.

RCMP, Nova Scotia Tweet
RCMP, Nova Scotia Tweet

The gunman was later identified as a 51-years old Gabriel Wortman. "He is considered armed & dangerous". "If you see him, call 911. DO NOT approach", police advised.

RCMP, Nova Scotia Tweet

Later, it was learnt that the assailant wore police uniform and was driving an RCMP vehicle.

RCMP, Nova Scotia Tweet

Although at first the police said the Wortman was arrested, he was later pronounced dead.

RCMP, Nova Scotia Tweet

Authorities provided no further information on how the shooter died.

Victims included police officers

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), issued a statement in which it announced that Constable Heidi Stevenson (23) was among those killed.

Another officer had suffered non-life threatening injuries and was admitted to a hospital. Along with killing people, several homes were put on fire, as well.

Motive of the attack

Although the motive of the attack is unclear, "the fact that this individual had a uniform and a police car at his disposal certainly speaks to it not being a random act", RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said, Associated Press reported. The gunman acted alone, according to the authorities.

Leaders react

"It has been a devastating day in Nova Scotia. To the families of the victims & to those who are still feeling afraid, my heart goes out to you", said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.

"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", said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Worst attack in three decades

The Nova Scotia carnage is the worst attack in Canada since the 1989 killing at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique college, in which gunman Marc Lepine killed 14 women and himself.

Gun violence is low in Canada, where strict gun control laws make it illegal to possess an unregistered handgun or any kind of rapid-fire weapon. Training, personal risk assessment, two references, spousal notification and criminal record checks are required for a person to posses a firearms.