All eight mayors took a moment during the April 22 session of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) to reflect on the incident and express their condolences for their counterparts in five communities in the province.
In Champlain Township, many residents in Vankleek Hill stood outside their homes April 24, for a quiet afternoon vigil in memory of the deceased, followed by the tolling of a church bell, which rang 22 times.
Residents in Portapique, Wentworth, Debert, Shubenacadie, and Enfield are still suffering the psychological aftershock of a series of killings and arson incidents that began Saturday April 18 in Portapique and ended Sunday April 19 100 kilometres away in Enfield when Gabriel Wortman, 51, the man responsible for the murders died during a shootout with RCMP.
The RCMP investigation continues and the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) is also involved. SIRT is Nova Scotia’s independent agency for investigation of police cases where a person or police officer is killed.
The latest RCMP account of the case puts the death toll at 22 people, including an RCMP officer. Police are trying to determine if Wortman had someone assisting him in the planning of his murder escapade. He was dressed in an authentic RCMP uniform and driving a car that resembled an RCMP cruiser, complete with replica decals, while he committed his murders and evaded capture until police tracked him down in Enfield.
The reason for all of the killings is still unknown. Wortman is believed responsible for several house and vehicle fires during the night while he was on his murder spree. The remains of some of his victims were recovered from some of the fire sites.