WILNO, Ont. – Residents of a small eastern Ontario town were ordered to seek shelter on Tuesday as police combed the area for a gunman believed to have killed at least one person.
Ontario Provincial Police offered few details about the shooting in Wilno, a small community about 180 kilometres west of Ottawa, but confirmed that someone was killed during the shooting that took place mid morning.
Sgt. Kristine Rae of the Bancroft detachment of the OPP said the gunman is considered armed and dangerous.
Police advised local businesses to lock their doors and urged some residents to relocate while they searched for the gunman.
Sara Burchat was home alone when police advised her that there was a male suspect on the loose near her property. Burchat said her husband was trying to return to be with her, but was kept away by road closures as the police investigated the scene.
“The cop was on the other end of the phone saying, ‘you either hide or get out.’ So I had to leave,” Burchat said from the local tavern.
Burchat said she was left shaken by the incident, adding that no one has been given any information as to who was involved.
Businesses in the small community of about 300 people were taking precautions as they waited for more information to be released.
Arthur Shulist, owner of Wilno Building Supply, said he was instructed to secure the store.
“We have our doors locked and when somebody comes to the door we open up for them.”
Clinton Roche, owner of the Wilno Station and Country Kitchen Cafe, said he was concerned for his mother who was closer to the area currently being held under lockdown.
He had fewer concerns for his own safety.
“I’m kind of in an open area here, I don’t think he’s going to come storming into our station to take us hostage…he’s more worried about himself right now”
Mike Harrington, who runs an auto body shop near Cormac, Ont., said he could see about 50 police officers from his home nearby.
Local residents said Wilno’s main strip was a hive of police activity for about an hour in the mid morning, but said the search appears to have shifted to outlying regions of the quaint village identified on its website as Canada’s first Polish settlement.
— By Michelle McQuigge and Paola Loriggio in Toronto.