Ontario town mayor says councillor may have died protecting daughter

A small-town Ontario mayor says that a beloved councillor was likely killed trying save his daughter from a gunman at his Almonte, Ont.

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Police have yet to confirm several key details surrounding the Thursday morning tragedy, but Mississippi Mills Mayor Shaun McLaughlin believes Coun. Bernard Cameron died trying to shield his daughter from the gunfire.

“I’m pretty sure (when) all the forensic evidence comes in, it’s probably going to show that our friend Bernard died a hero,” McLaughlin said at a community vigil.

“I’m pretty sure he stepped in front of his daughter to save her and risked his own life doing it.”

Police were alerted to the violent incident around 7:30 a.m. Thursday after a call to 911. When officers arrived, a 65-year-old man was found dead of a gunshot wound. A 33-year-old man and Cameron’s 28-year-old daughter, Sarah Cameron, were taken to hospital with critical injuries.

The 33-year-old man -- later identified by OPP as the lone gunman -- was pronounced dead shortly after.

Police haven’t officially named the three victims or described their relationship to each other, but the town’s mayor and several others within the community have confirmed their identities.

Sources told CTV Ottawa that the gunman was Sarah Cameron’s former partner and that the violent attack came after a break-up. Sources say the councillor was helping his daughter get back on her feet after the split and was in the process of helping her buy a home.

The tight-knit community of 12,400, located about 50 kilometres southwest of Ottawa, was shocked by the tragic news. Hundreds gathered Thursday night at an emotional vigil to mourn Coun. Cameron, a former high school teacher, and pray for his daughter’s recovery.

Sarah Cameron, a mother of two young children and personal support worker, was rushed from her father’s home to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Her condition was reported to be stable Thursday night. Friends say she has been able to speak with family and has undergone emergency surgery.

Co-worker Carolyn Della Foresta described Sarah Cameron as a “very bubby, energetic person.” A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support the family.

“We just want her to know that we’re wishing her the absolute best, that our thoughts and prayers are with her constantly and we can’t wait until she comes back and works with us,” Della Foresta said.

A spokesperson for a nearby women’s shelter says she believes the deadly incident was a targeted attack.

“It is our understanding and our belief that unfortunately Bernard Cameron died in the crossfire as a result of violence against women,” said Erin Lee of the Lanark County Interval House.

Lee says the tragedy underlines the fact that women -- especially those in rural communities -- continue to face instances of domestic abuse.

“It’s important for women to know there are programs, services and people who want to have the dialogue. It’s important to know that your community backs you,” Lee said.

Police released few new details Friday other than to confirm that the investigation is expected to last several days.

“It’s a tragic, tragic thing to happen in a small town. People want answers, people want confirmation about what happened,” said OPP Const. Greg Streng. “In the interest of making sure everything is done properly, and doing a good, thorough investigation, it may take a few days.”

With files from CTV Ottawa



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