RCMP exchange gunfire with suspect in Tatamagouche after woman found dead

A friend of the woman who died says he's in 'complete shock' and says the victim was 'always a bubbly, happy person.'

Woman who died was 'always a bubbly, happy person,' says friend of victim

RCMP exchanged gunfire with a man Monday morning at Lockerbie Memorial Cemetery in Tatamagouche, on Nova Scotia's north shore. The exchange happened after a woman was found dead inside a home in nearby Bayhead hours earlier. (Pierre-Alex Bolduc/Radio-Canada)

RCMP exchanged gunfire and wounded a man in Tatamagouche, N.S., this morning after officers found a woman dead at a home about 10 kilometres outside the village.

Late last night, Colchester RCMP were called to a home on Clarks Road in Bayhead. RCMP Sgt. Al LeBlanc said officers found the woman's body. The death is suspicious, RCMP said.

Officers followed a 49-year-old suspect who had driven away, LeBlanc said, and a short time later found him near Lockerbie Memorial Cemetery on Highway 6 in Tatamagouche.

According to LeBlanc, officers spoke with the man, who was inside his vehicle when gunfire was exchanged. The man was wounded and taken to hospital for treatment. He remains in police custody. LeBlanc didn't know the extent of his injuries. No officers were hurt.

RCMP at the entrance to the Bayhead crime scene near Tatamagouche, N.S. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

RCMP have set up barricades and have officers throughout part of Tatamagouche while they continue looking for evidence. 

The Serious Incident Response Team, which said the woman's death is a homicide, has been called in to investigate the shooting that wounded suspect. The team investigates all serious incidents involving police, regardless of whether there are allegations of wrongdoing.

SIRT spokesperson Ron MacDonald said "for some hours there had been discussion between police and the man."

'She always had a smile on her face'

Police have not released the name of the woman who died and CBC News is not identifying her until her next of kin are notified. 

However, Johnny Smiley from Tatamagouche worked with the woman. He said waking up to find out she had died was a big blow. 

"I was in complete shock, like sick to my stomach."  

He said the woman was a pleasure to be around. 

"She always had a smile on her face, bubbly, always a, 'Good morning, how are you?' There was never a down day or nothing.... She was always a bubbly, happy person."  

Smiley said the woman's death will hit the community.

"Not every day something like this happens. I think a lot of people are going to come together," said Smiley.

Police said there was no risk to public safety.

Route 6 was blocked off near where it meets Route 311, going to River John. 

Tatamagouche Elementary and North Colchester High School were closed Monday.