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Death toll rises after shooting rampage in Nova Scotia

The gunman was killed during the incident.

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Floral tributes in Debert, Nova Scotia (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP)

Floral tributes in Debert, Nova Scotia (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP)

Floral tributes in Debert, Nova Scotia (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canadian police have said they believe there were 22 victims after a gunman went on a rampage in rural communities across Nova Scotia over the weekend.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they have recovered remains from fires. Earlier, authorities had said at least 18 people were killed in the 12-hour attack. The gunman also died.

Police said in an earlier news release that they believed there were 23 victims but spokesman Daniel Brien later clarified the death toll included 22 victims and the gunman.

As fears mounted that more victims would be found in burned-out homes, a young man said that his grandparents were missing and believed dead after their log cabin was set ablaze during the attack.

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Floral tributes left in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP)

Floral tributes left in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP)

AP/PA Images

Floral tributes left in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP)

Justin Zahl said he finally heard from police after frantic calls for information and seeing images of his grandparents’ home in the rural town of Portapique burned to the ground, with their cars in the driveway.

It was not immediately clear, however, if the remains police said had been found Tuesday included those of his grandparents.

Police teams were spread out across 16 locations in central and northern Nova Scotia, including the area where the 12-hour rampage began late on Saturday on Portapique Beach Road, where the suspect, Gabriel Wortman, lived.

Police have warned the death toll will almost certainly rise as investigators comb through homes destroyed by fire.

Meanwhile, questions emerged on Tuesday about why a public emergency alert was not sent as the rampage ensued. Police provided Twitter updates, but no alert that would have automatically popped up on mobile phones.

Officials said the suspect, identified as 51-year-old Wortman, also died in the weekend attack. Authorities did not provide a motive for the killings.

Authorities said Wortman wore a police uniform and made his car look like a Royal Canadian Mounted Police cruiser allowing him to travel easily within a 30-mile area around Portapique, where the rampage began. A police officer was among those killed.

PA