**** SiRT Media Release
No Charges in Discharge of Firearms by RCMP Officers at Onslow Fire Hall
The province’s independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) has cleared two RCMP Officers of any wrongdoing in the discharge of their firearms.
Beginning the night of Saturday, April 18, 2020 RCMP Colchester District received several 911 calls of gunshots and fires burning in the area of Portapique, NS. Several RCMP officers responded to the call for service and continued to respond to the tragedy over the next several hours.
On the following Sunday morning, two officers who had been called in to assist with the investigation learned that the gunman was driving a replica RCMP vehicle and possibly wearing pieces of an RCMP uniform. Several hours later, while the officers were actively searching for the gunman, they learned that another shooting occurred in the Wentworth area. While en route to the scene of the shooting, the officers learned that the gunman was also wearing a reflective vest.
Three additional shootings took place within a thirty-minute time span between Wentworth and Debert. The officers did not attend those scenes but began searching the area for the killer which lead them in the direction of Onslow.
As they were approaching the Onslow Fire Hall, they saw a marked RCMP vehicle parked in front of the fire hall facing the road and a male wearing a yellow and orange reflective vest, standing by the driver’s side door of the marked RCMP vehicle. He was dressed in a fashion similar to other accounts of how the killer was dressed. The officers could not tell if the driver’s side door was open or if anyone was in the car because they were facing the passenger side of that vehicle.
When the officer yelled “police” and “show your hands”, the male did not show his hands but rather ducked behind the marked police car then popped up and ran toward the fire hall entrance. The officers discharged their firearms. Neither the male who ran into the fire hall nor the RCMP member who, unbeknownst to the officers, was sitting in the police vehicle were struck by the shots.
The investigation found that based on everything the officers had seen and heard since coming on duty and what they had observed at the time, they had reasonable grounds to believe that the male was the killer and someone who would continue his killing rampage. They discharged their weapons in order to prevent further deaths or serious injuries.
Accordingly, no criminal offence was committed, and no charges are warranted against either officer.
The full report is available at http://sirt.novascotia.ca .
SIRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia. Investigations are under the direction and control of independent civilian director Felix Cacchione, who has the sole authority to determine if charges should be laid after the conclusion of an investigation.