OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada on Thursday launched a review into the country’s worst-ever mass shooting and the probe will look at whether police actions allowed the killer to remain free hours after his spree began, officials said.
Gabriel Wortman, 51, murdered a total of 22 people in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia. He killed 13 victims on the night of April 18 and another nine the next day before police shot him dead.
Relatives of the victims criticized the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for not using a provincial alert system to warn people a gunman was on the loose. Instead, police communicated via Twitter.
The RCMP said at the time it was very satisfied with how it had communicated with the public, adding that the use of Twitter had provided the best and clearest information possible.
“I, like many Canadians, have questions ... I know there were questions about the communications,” federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told a news conference.
“We have the right people to give us advice on how we can improve the response for all Canadians in the future.”
The review will examine the decision not to use the alert system and how officers reacted to the killings. It will also probe what, if any, earlier contacts the RCMP had had with Wortman, who neighbors and acquaintances have told media was a violent man obsessed with guns.
The three-member review panel - jointly appointed by Ottawa and Nova Scotia - has until Feb. 28, 2021, to submit an interim report. The final report is due on Aug. 31, 2021.
Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis