B.C. officials including Premier David Eby paid tribute Tuesday to an employee of the Ministry of Children and Family Development who was shot dead in Prince Rupert on Monday.
RCMP said a man who shot himself after killing the woman in a shopping mall has also died.
Police said the apparent murder-suicide at the Ocean Centre Mall was an “isolated incident” and the gunman, aged 44, and his 52-year-old victim knew each other, but have not said how.
The woman died before she could be taken to hospital, and the gunman was in critical condition and died hours later.
A statement released by the premier’s office said the shooting was a “violent act committed against someone who worked to serve local children and families.”
The statement was released late Tuesday on behalf of Eby, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, Children and Families Minister Mitzi Dean and Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness.
“Our hearts also go out to those who acted immediately to provide emergency care, those who may have witnessed this violence and anyone whose safety was threatened by yesterday’s events,” it said.
“We are here for you, and we will be in the days, weeks and months to come.”
Family and friends have identified Patty Forman as the woman killed. They said she was “an amazing soul.” “What a tragedy. Rest in peace, my dear cousin,” wrote a family member on a Facebook tribute post.
Eby had earlier Tuesday told the B.C. Federation of Labour convention in Vancouver that the victim was a member of the B.C. General Employees’ Union, but he gave no other details.
“It’s moments like this that we think about the issue of public safety, making sure that our homes and our communities are safe for everybody.”
Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond called it “truly tragic” and said support is available to anyone in the community of just over 12,000 people.
The RCMP is asking anyone with information about the attack to come forward.
The Canada Border Services Agency confirmed with Glacier Media that the suspected gunman was a CBSA employee.
“The Canada Border Services Agency is aware of the incident that took place at the Ocean Centre Mall in Prince Rupert, B.C., and the involvement of a CBSA employee,” said Rebecca Purdy, a spokesperson for CBSA. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the victim’s family during this difficult time.”
— With file from The Canadian Press