Nova Scotians reflect on one year mass shooting anniversary

Noah Thompson ( left) and Kobe Vander Zwaag from Bridgewater Nova Scotia reflect on the 1-year anniversary of the mass shooting that left 22 people dead. Submitted photos.

By Justin Arenburg

April 20, 2021

Kobe Vander Zwaag of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia was nervously texting for hours trying to find out where the shooter was and what he was doing.  

Vander Zwaag texted his father.

“Did you see it?”

“Yeah I saw, don’t worry.”

He was worried though because father was close where the shooter was heading.

“I was worried about my father and step-mom because they were closer than I was.”

“It was a huge shock for me, because the little province of Nova Scotia has never experienced anything like that, and we would never expect anything like that.”

April 18, 2020 was the single greatest mass shooting in Canadian History with 22 victims plus one shooter who was killed by police.

One year later, people arcoss the province still feel the affect, from that dark day.

Vander Zwaag finds it hard to move on from that day.

“Anytime I think about it shoots chills up my spine.”

Hard to believe it could happen in Canada

He is now more cautious about his surroundings when he is out and is always thinking about possible threats.

For Noah Thompson from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia although things are going back to normal, he’s still upset the shooting happened in the place he calls home.

“I never would have guessed something like that would happen in Canada, let alone the south shore,” said Thompson.

12 hours after the shooter started killing people the RCMP sent out an emergency alert to everyone in province that stated everyone needed to stay inside.

Thompson said he feels the police didn’t take the incident seriously and that the response was too delayed.

“I don’t think they did a good job period.”   

He’s not alone. A federal-provincial inquiry of the incident is coming up to see if the response was appropriate by the RCMP.

Vander Zwaag and Thompson paid their respects to the victims by taking part in the moment silence the province had a 3p.m. on April 18.