A couple pays their respects at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2021. Public hearings are scheduled to begin in October for the public inquiry into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A couple pays their respects at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2021. Public hearings are scheduled to begin in October for the public inquiry into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Public hearings into April 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting to begin in October

Twenty-two people were killed by a gunman disguised as a Mountie

Public hearings are scheduled to begin in October for the inquiry into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting.

The Mass Casualty Commission said today in a statement the hearings will take place between Oct. 26 and Dec. 10 at the Halifax Convention Centre and other unspecified venues.

Twenty-two people were killed by a gunman disguised as a Mountie on April 18-19, 2020 in a 13-hour burning and shooting rampage that began in Portapique, N.S., a coastal community about 40 kilometres west of Truro.

The inquiry is investigating what happened leading up to and during the killings but will also discuss firearms access, police and service-provider responses, emergency communications and intimate partner violence.

In May, the commission announced it had granted standing to 56 participants, including families of those killed, police groups and organizations that advocate against gender-based violence.

The commission, chaired by former chief justice of Nova Scotia Michael MacDonald, says it’s planning for in-person and virtual proceedings as needed, depending on the COVID-19 health orders in place by the fall.

“In order to create a thorough, evidence-based record, difficult questions will need to be asked and uncomfortable facts will need to be considered,” MacDonald and the other two commissioners said in the statement.

“We are committed to performing our duties with compassion and with an unwavering commitment to a full, transparent, and independent inquiry.”

The commission’s interim report is due in May 2022, with a final report and recommendations to follow in November 2022.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: Gunman behind mass shooting in Nova Scotia had targets in Halifax: search warrants

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