A resident of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is questioning why an emergency alert wasn't issued Saturday following two shootings in North Sydney and Florence, but police say they were in the midst of issuing one when the alleged offender was apprehended.
Reports of the shootings came in around 4:30 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. Saturday.
Wayne MacKay and his wife were in the area for a swim, and had stopped in at the A & K Lick-A-Treat in Florence for ice cream.
"I guess around about that time was when everything was going down," he said. "And we were oblivious to what was happening."
Not long after, they were passed on Highway 125 by several emergency vehicles.
But it wasn't until they arrived home in Sydney that they saw a Facebook post from Cape Breton Regional Police warning people in the Northside to stay in their homes, which was posted online at 5:45 p.m.
Meanwhile, the accused was on an ATV trail that runs adjacent to Highway 125.
"We were actually out walking around the Sydney area when he was apprehended, not knowing that he was here either," said MacKay.
He said he was "a little bit scared, but also a little bit upset" an alert wasn't put out, especially given "what's happened on the mainland."
On April 18-19, a man went on a killing spree over the span of 13 hours and killed 22 people. The rampage began in Portapique, N.S., and ended in Enfield, N.S., when the gunman was shot by police.
'So many moving parts,' say police
In a Facebook post late Saturday night, Cape Breton Regional Police say they made a request to the provincial government for an emergency alert around the same time they made the Facebook post warning people to stay in their homes.
However, roughly 30 minutes later — around 6:15 p.m. — the alert was ready to be sent out, but police had apprehended the suspect in Membertou.
"There's so many moving parts," said Staff Sgt. Joe Farrell on Monday.
He said while first responders and police on the scene were assisting victims and securing the crimes scenes, communications staff were handling media releases and the request for an emergency alert.
"It's part of the process, and I do believe it was done in a timely fashion, as quick as we can get it done," said Farrell.
The provincial government declined an interview request from CBC News.
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