Would-be victim reveals Nova Scotia gunman had ‘list of people to target’: report

A survivor of the Nova Scotia mass shootings says he was told by police that his name appeared on a "hit list" of potential victims. And Canadians remember Const. Heidi Stevenson, killed while trying to stop the killer. Xiaoli Li has more.

HALIFAX (NEWS 1130) – Disturbing details are emerging as the investigation into last weekend’s murder spree in Nova Scotia continues.

The gunman — responsible for 22 deaths at 16 different crime-scenes — apparently had a so-called hit-list, according to a report by The Globe and Mail. Gabriel Wortman had apparently put together a list of people to target, one of his would-be victims told the outlet.

Nathan Staples, who lives about 15 minutes from where the killing began Saturday night, said investigators told him Tuesday that his name was on a list they found at a property of the shooter.

He was reportedly seventh or eighth on that list.

Staples said he can’t guess why he would be among those targeted, other than noting that, a few months earlier, he had refused to sell Wortman a used police car.

In the most recent update, Nova Scotia RCMP investigators said the gunman acted alone, although whether he had help before the mass shooting is still being looked into. Mounties have also said the weapons used during the rampage were unlicensed and illegal.

The RCMP has come under question by many in the public for how it responded to the shooting, with no emergency alert sent out to transmit warnings to Nova Scotians’ cellphones and television screens. The RCMP had, at the time, opted to use its Twitter and Facebook accounts to alert residents about the situation.

On Wednesday, Chief Supt. Chris Leather said Twitter messages from the RCMP started Saturday at 10:26 p.m., when the Mounties warned of a firearms complaint in Portapique, a tiny village about a 130-kilometre drive north of Halifax.

The force continues to defend its decision, and said it was still working on a message to be sent out through the Emergency Management Office when the shooter was shot and killed by officers.

Leather read from a statement Wednesday making it clear he was aware the RCMP’s communication with the public was under scrutiny.

“From that initial call, our response was dynamic and fluid, with members using their training to assess what was going on while encountering the unimaginable,” he said.

Meanwhile, a virtual vigil has been set up for Friday to honour the victims of the attack. Teacher Lisa McCully, nurses Kristen Beaton and Heather O’Brien, denturist Gina Goulet, correctional officers Sean McLeod and Alanna Jenkins, and family of three Jolene Oliver, Aaron Tuck and Emily Tuck, were among the victims identified. RCMP Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the RCMP and mother of two children, was also killed while trying to stop the shooter.

“How do we start to rebuild, how do we start to put ourselves back together if we can’t even give a hug or receive a hug?” Tiffany Ward, one of the organizers, said. “I think this has the potential to at least, maybe, a little bit, offer some solace and some comfort to the families and the community”

-With files from NEWS 95.7 Halifax

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