Halifax, NS — Following is a statement from Brian Sauvé, President of the National Police Federation, regarding today’s Mass Casualty Commission testimony about the incident at Onslow Fire Hall:
“The NPF acknowledges that the incident at Onslow Fire Hall was traumatic for everyone involved, and that the ongoing police response to an active shooter known to be murdering innocent bystanders made it difficult for this trauma to be properly addressed. We also stand by the actions of Constables Melanson, Brown, and Gagnon at the Onslow Fire Hall, who each acted to the best of their abilities to fulfil their duty to try and stop the killer, based on the knowledge, information, and resources available to them at the time.
The evidence presented by the Commission today demonstrated that Constables Melanson and Brown sincerely believed that they had identified the perpetrator outside the Fire Hall, and that they acted to pursue and subdue the threat after making numerous attempts and being unable to identify the person over the radio or using verbal commands. The information that they relied on included their own knowledge that the perpetrator was:
- wearing an orange or reflective vest, similar to the one worn by the person they could see in front of the Fire Hall
- driving a fully marked replica police vehicle, nearly identical to the one occupied by Cst. Gagnon
- expected to be traveling along the same route, after murdering two people less than 10 km away only 30 minutes before
- known to have a high-caliber weapon, and to be heavily armed, motivated and ruthless
- apparently shooting civilians indiscriminately when he came upon them and expected to attempt to evade police capture
A subsequent investigation by the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team found that “the totality of the evidence establishes that the [officers] had reasonable grounds to believe the person they saw, who was disobeying their orders, was the mass murderer who had, in the preceding hour, killed three more persons”.
We also support and recognize the actions of Cst. Dave Gagnon, who despite having been on the receiving end of friendly fire, resolutely and bravely continued to guard his post, protecting the occupants of the Fire Hall even while remaining a potential target for the killer.
The Constables checked on the occupants of the Onslow Fire Hall to confirm there were no injuries and then followed orders to continue pursuing the active shooter to prevent further loss of life. They self-reported the incident and fully cooperated in ensuing investigations.”
About the National Police Federation:
The National Police Federation (NPF) was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP Members serving across Canada and internationally in the summer of 2019. The NPF is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada; the second largest in North America and is the first independent national association to represent RCMP Members.
The NPF is focused on improving public safety in Canada by increasing resources, equipment, training, and other supports for our Members who have been under-funded for far too long. Better resourcing and supports for the RCMP will enhance community safety and livability in the communities we serve, large and small, across Canada.
For more information: https://npf-fpn.com/
Fabrice de Dongo
Manager, Media Relations