A former Manitoban now living in Nova Scotia is trying to come to terms with a mass shooting that ended minutes from his backyard over the weekend, while makeshift memorials grow in his home province.
Ryan Wood, from Portage la Prairie, Man., moved to Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, about 10 years ago, where he is now a volunteer firefighter.
Wood recalls hearing police sirens and a chopper Sunday morning as a manhunt was underway for the suspect of a 12-hour shooting spree.
“I locked the doors and started closing curtains and just stayed inside and kept the kids busy, didn’t tell them what was going on,” Wood told Global News.
“As I woke up this morning, I was searching for answers.”
On Monday, Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Supt. Chris Leather said there are currently over 19 victims, including Const. Heidi Stevenson, but they expect to potentially identify more as the investigation unfolds.
Wood doesn’t personally know any of the victims, but as many as six of the victims are either friends or relatives of people he knows.
“It really hit home how many people are affected, or can be affected by the crazy actions of one madman,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wood said he’s grateful for the community support.
In Manitoba, a makeshift memorial has popped up outside RCMP D Divison in Winnipeg, while the flags have been lowered to half-mast.
Flowers and handwritten notes can be seen by a monument to fallen officers in front of the building.
“We’ve noticed the flowers being placed in front of the Slain Peace Officer monument and we truly appreciate the public’s support and well wishes at this time,” Sgt. Paul Manaigre said in an email.
“Although I can say that I did not know Cst. Stevenson directly, the RCMP is a family and the death of this officer has affected every RCMP employee in this province.”
The Nova Scotia provincial flag has also been put up in Memorial Park in downtown Winnipeg.
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