The rampage by a gunman began on Saturday night in Portapique. This is located about 80 miles north of Halifax in Canada. It was the deadliest such attack in the history of the country and went on for over 12 hours. Police took measures to reduce the casualties. They advised residents to remain locked inside their homes. Initial estimates indicate suggests the loss of at least 18 lives in the mass shooting in Nova Scotia. This figure of the death toll is, as per the BBC but Sky News puts it at 16. The suspected gunman dressed as a police officer.

He even modified his vehicle to resemble a police vehicle. Apart from the murder of innocents, there were also reports of a fire in some localities and the burning of buildings in the town. Canada never faced a situation of this nature earlier. One witness mentioned that armed officers were patrolling the streets while helicopters searched for the suspect. It was, undoubtedly, a totally new experience for the law enforcement agencies.

Sky News says one of his victims was a 23-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

She was a married mother of two. Another officer suffered injuries. An official of the National Police Federation union said, "Our hearts are heavy with grief and sadness today as we have lost one of our own", reports Sky News.

Gunman on the rampage was new to Canada

In some countries, there are people who love to carry guns and use such weapons to settle scores.

However, a gunman on the rampage is relatively new to Canada. As a resident summed it up to Sky News, "It's nerve-wracking because you don't know if somebody has lost their mind and is going to beat in your front door." The police teams took prompt action and they have identified the gunman. He is in his early 50s and his victims were from different locations.

In fact, some of them were strangers to him.

Sky News quotes an official of the Nova Scotia RCMP as saying that the suspect wore a dress resembling that of the police but he was not a police employee. The words of the official were: “The fact that this individual had a uniform and a police car at his disposal certainly speaks to it not being a random act." The police arrested the gunman at a petrol station, but he later died. It seems there was an exchange of fire between him and the police. Stephen McNeil, premier of Nova Scotia describes the incident as "one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province's history." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences.

Past incidents of violence in Canada

Gun Violence is practically unheard of in the country. However, Sky News makes mention of the following incidents of violence in Canada. In 1989, a gunman shot dead 14 women in Montreal. That led the authorities to revise the gun laws to ensure the safety of its people. The worst case of mass murder in the history of the country was in 1985. It was the bombing of a flight over the Atlantic that killed 329 people, and 268 of them were Canadians.

The BBC adds the following to the list. It elaborates on the incident of 1989 and says it was a shooting incident in a college. The killer sent all the men out of the classroom and then opened fire to kill 14 women.

Subsequently, in 2019, two teenagers admitted killing three people. They included a couple who vacationed in British Columbia.

Canada will have to reassess its gun laws

Normally, gunmen who shoot to kill innocents have a mindset that is difficult to understand. The Nova Scotia killer was middle-aged and kept shooting and killing at random. That could be a pointer to the state of his mind. Canada does have strict gun laws to keep a check on those who buy the weapons. The most important factor is the mental stability of the owner because if the weapon falls into wrong hands, it can lead to unpleasant situations. Incidentally, Canada is well known to Meghan Markle who worked there while filming "Suits." That could be a reason why Meghan Markle and Harry chose Canada as a stopover before they went to Los Angeles.