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Tragedy in Tatamagouche

Highway 6 East leading to River John, just across the bridge from Tatamagouche, was closed to traffic throughout the day Monday, while RCMP officers investigated the scene at the Lockerbie Memorial Cemetery of a gunfire exchange between police and a shooting suspect.
Highway 6 East leading to River John, just across the bridge from Tatamagouche, was closed to traffic throughout the day Monday, while RCMP officers investigated the scene at the Lockerbie Memorial Cemetery of a gunfire exchange between police and a shooting suspect.

TATAMAGOUCHE, N.S. – Tatamagouche and area residents awoke to shock and tragedy Monday morning after a well-known community member died in her own home in nearby Bayhead.

An RCMP vehicle and the pickup truck of a man suspected of killing a Bayhead woman late Sunday night can be seen on the grounds of the Lockerbie Memorial cemetery, across the river from Tatamagouche. The site is the scene of an early morning shootout

A short time later her alleged killer was wounded in a shootout with RCMP after taking refuge in his pickup truck on the grounds of the Lockerbie Memorial Cemetery across the river from Tatamagouche on Highway 6 East.

James Lane of Hamilton, Ont., who is visiting relatives in Tatamagouche, said he was awakened by the sound of police sirens screaming past the Main Street residence he is staying at. A few minutes later, Lane said, he heard the sounds of what turned out to be an exchange of gunfire between the RCMP and the man suspected in the killing.

“I thought they were chasing somebody speeding,” Lane told the Truro Daily News, of his initial reaction to the sirens. “But I heard bang, bang, bang, bang,” he said, of the exchange of gunfire.

An RCMP news release said police responded to a 911 call from a residence on Clarkes Road in Bayhead, shortly before midnight Sunday. Upon arrival at the scene, approximately 10 km north of Tatamagouche, officers discovered a deceased female.

A male suspect was located by members shortly after, which then led to a pursuit that ended at the cemetery.

Officers then engaged in a verbal interchange with the man, who remained inside his vehicle, before gunfire was exchanged. The suspect was wounded and taken to hospital for treatment.

The extent of his injuries are unknown at this time although he officially remains in police custody.

The Northeast Nova Major Crimes Unit has taken over the investigation into the “suspicious” death.

The RCMP has also referred the shooting incident to the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT), which has taken over the investigation. 

The RCMP said they are unable to give further details now that the matter is being investigated by the SiRT.

RCMP remained on the scene of both the Clarkes Road and the cemetery sites throughout Monday. Numerous officers could also be seen carefully going over the cemetery grounds throughout the day.

The road leading across the bridge from Tatamagouche was shut down to traffic on Monday during a police investigation into a shootout between the RCMP and a man suspected of killing a Bayhead woman late Sunday night. The man was wounded in the shootout and taken to hospital for treatment.

Although the identities of both the victim and the suspect were revealed by numerous local sources on Monday, the Truro Daily News is withholding the names until it has been determined their families have been notified.

The victim is described as a well-respected and longtime businesswoman, a devoted mother and volunteer. She was also described as being soft-spoken, caring, community-minded and honest.

“She made you feel like you knew her forever,” a former business colleague said.

Darcy MacRae, spokesperson for the Chignecto Central Regional School Board, confirmed there were a couple of international students staying at the home where the shooting took place.

“We’ve taken every step to help them,” MacRae said. “They’re in a safe location. We’re taking every step to meet their needs.”

He said the board is willing to do whatever is needed to help the students, whether it be flying them home or flying their families here, in addition to providing counselling.

Others in the community expressed shock at the tragic turn of event  

“People are just shaking their heads, they can’t believe it,” said a village resident, who did not want to be identified. “I just find it so hard to believe.”

The visiting Lane, who said there have been 29 shooting deaths so far this year in Hamilton, said the incident was the last thing he expected in the normally quiet village.

“I thought I would come to Tatamagouche where it’s nice and quiet,” he said.

 

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

 

 

 

 

 

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