Nova Scotia·Point of View

Halifax mass shooting plot shows violence has no borders

The comfortable notion that violent crimes like mass shootings are a problem for some other place and perhaps some other culture has been picked apart in the space of just a few hours.

1 suspect dead, 3 in custody, in alleged plot to open fire at public venue, police say

Halifax police say they tracked a 19-year-old down to this house on Tiger Maple Drive in Timberlea. They entered the house and found him dead early Friday. (CBC)

It can't happen here.

Well, police say it almost did.

The comfortable notion that violent crimes like mass shootings are a problem for some other place and perhaps some other culture has been picked apart in the space of just a few hours.

It started with an apparent suicide in a nondescript Halifax suburb. The houses along Tiger Maple Drive are like hundreds of others in hundreds of other neighbourhoods; not just in Halifax but anywhere in Canada. The developer has worked the word "maple" into every street name in the subdivision, evoking a quiet, tree-lined enclave.

Neighbours say the couple who live in the house where the man died have lived there a long time and are quiet and pleasant. Most of the day Friday, the house was surrounded by police tape, the front window shattered and the street almost deserted.

We're slowly piecing together details about the young man who took his own life as police closed in. There's nothing obvious, nothing to reassure us that this is something that somehow couldn't happen in our neighbourhood or our town or our province.

These days, Halifax's Stanfield International Airport is the scene of hordes of travellers fleeing this bitter winter for the sunny south. But in this story, the airport was also the scene of an arrest as police took two more suspects into custody.

Several kilometres away from both the airport and Timberlea, in another quiet Halifax suburb, another arrest, the fourth player in this mystery.

We're supposed to be celebrating hockey this weekend in Halifax. Valentine's Day is also Hockey Day in Canada. Both events are expected to draw large crowds of people innocently looking for a good time.

But now those people — we — have to stop and wonder how close we came to having those celebrations shattered by violence.

About the Author

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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