PORTAPIQUE – A standoff in Portapique came to a deadly end early Wednesday evening.
Shortly before 6 p.m., a 49-year-old man suspected in the death of a woman earlier in the day, died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police say.
The man had barricaded himself in a vehicle, which was believed to be a half-ton truck, on a back road near Portapique for several hours. Police had the road blocked off.
The man was believed to be a resident of the same apartment where a 47-year-old woman was found dead on Wednesday morning at 5 Mitchell Dr. in Truro Heights, which is about 38 kilometres from Portapique.
The woman, who grew up in Truro, was found in a fourplex unit after RCMP officers responded to a 911 call at that address at approximately 3:30 a.m.
That death is considered suspicious and is being investigated by the Northeast Nova Major Crime Unit and Colchester RCMP.
Police have not released names of either of the deceased, but they are believed to have been married to each other. Other media outlets have identified the couple as Cheryl and Martin Thompson.
RCMP Sgt. Al LeBlanc, media relations officer for the RCMP in Nova Scotia, released little information about the incident and the subsequent barricade, only to say the man and woman “are well known to each other.” LeBlanc also said earlier in the day that a crisis negotiator was on the scene (in Portapique) and had made contact with the man. He's expecting to officially release the couple's names toda.
The RCMP has requested the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) conduct an investigation of the events.
The nephew of the deceased woman will remember her determination the most.
“She was very determined to get what she wants,” said the nephew, who said the family wasn’t ready to release his aunt’s identity publicly. “She was kind and very, very hardworking. She rarely took time to herself.”
The woman’s nephew recalled their relationship with fondness.
“When I was younger, up to about 12 years old, I saw her all the time,” he said. “We have a very big family and whenever we would go to my grandparents’ place, we always conversed. There was only about a 12- or 14-year age difference between us.”
The nephew said his aunt was a mother to one, and also had a grandchild. She lived in the apartment building off Anita Crescent for about 15 years.
“She had a very strong head, if you know what I mean,” he said.
Neighbours of the apartment on Mitchell Drive were concerned Wednesday morning because no one had informed them as to what was going on.
One resident, who wished not to be named, said he was outside for a cigarette at about 3 a.m. and didn't notice any police presence at that time. It was a different story, however, at 4:30 a.m. when RCMP were on scene.
“I saw a vehicle on the street with its lights on. I didn’t know right away it was the RCMP, but another police car came down the street and put on its brakes when it went by,” said the man. “I could see it was the RCMP.”
The property was taped off with yellow caution tape, and a grey Alero sat with its trunk open at the back of the property.
Many neighbours thought it was a duplex, however, four power meters can be scene from Anita Crescent. The property sits on the corner of both streets.
A resident in one of the building's apartments was seen with the back door opened, taking pictures. An RCMP vehicle sat at the back of the property, while RCMP officers were also present on Mitchell Drive and Anita Crescent.
A neighbor on the opposite side of the street and further down from the building didn’t know anything had happened until seeing it posted on social media.
“Stuff like this doesn’t happen here,” she said, not wishing to give her name. “The scary thing is that there are children everywhere.”
The resident said she has children of her own and they are outside playing “every day.”
“My youngest has to walk by there to get to the school bus,” she said, while looking down the street.
Another resident said the RCMP was checking vehicles on the Truro Heights Connector just before 7 a.m. when he took his girlfriend to work.
A resident who lives one street away said she had recently seen the woman but didn’t know her name.
“The last time I saw her was Saturday night,” she said. “It’s pretty sad. I’ve lived in this area for 20 years and this is the first time I’d heard of anything happening like this. I live a little bit of a distance away, but we’re still a Truro Heights community.”
In the afternoon, she stopped her vehicle just outside the property with her son, whom she had just picked up from school.
“I wanted to have a conversation with him about it so he knew there was nothing he should fear. I think it’s incumbent to us as parents to have that dialogue with our children.”