Canada launches probe of deadliest mass shooting

Nova Scotia flags are lowered in Nova Scotia a day after a mass shooting in Fort Lawrence, Canada, on April 20, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

OTTAWA, CANADA (AFP) - Canada announced on Thursday (July 23) an independent probe of its deadliest-ever mass shooting, including whether the police response to the killing spree that left 22 people dead was adequate.

A panel of three experts will examine the Nova Scotia arson and shooting massacre that ended with police gunning down the shooter after a 13-hour manhunt.

A draft report, with a view to avoiding a similar tragedy, is due in February 2021, said Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair.

The killing spree, which began on the night of April 18, was carried out by a man identified as 51-year-old denturist Gabriel Wortman.

Authorities said he was wearing a police uniform, driving a mock police car and had several guns with him, including at least one assault-style weapon.

In the wake of the massacre, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on military-grade assault weapons.

Canadian police were criticised for using Twitter to warn the public that an armed suspect was on the loose, rather than issuing a formal emergency alert.

Mr Blair told journalists that he believed the probe would provide a better understanding of the massacre and "concrete recommendations to ensure that we could help prevent all future such tragedies".

The probe will also look at police communications and the role played by domestic violence.

The massacre began with the suspect beating his girlfriend, who managed to escape and survived.

A final report is due in August 2021.

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