The man was dressed as a police officer, and was even driving an RCMP lookalike vehicle while attempting to escape from police. It's not clear if he switched vehicles or was driving this vehicle all along.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) identified the shooter in the rural community of Portapique as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman and asked residents not to approach him.
"It just escalated from there", he said.
"I never imagined when I went to bed last night that I would wake up to the horrific news that an active shooter was on the loose in Nova Scotia", Nova Scotia premier Stephen McNeil said.
According to the websites of the Denturist Society of Nova Scotia and the province's Better Business Bureau, Wortman operated a denture clinic in Dartmouth, close to Halifax. "He is considered armed and unsafe", the police force said on Twitter.
"We heard gunshots", she said, adding that one police officer looked to have been injured.
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Police say the shooting began Saturday evening after a complaint in Portapique, Nova Scotia, and was confirmed as an active shooter situation shortly after, with police telling the public to lock their doors.
Tom Taggert, a councillor for the area for for the Municipality of Colchester, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that Portapique was a "beautiful, quiet, rural community" with about 100 to 250 residents.
Taggart described Portapique as a "subdivision in the woods where people have acre lots along the shore".
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on the situation during his morning press conference focusing on the COVID-19 crisis.
Taggart doesn't know Wortman personally, he said, but has spoken to him occasionally on the phone. "I do know that there's a huge police presence and that should make people relatively comfortable". "I can't fathom it".
"My heart goes out to everyone affected in what is a awful situation", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.