According to a statement from the RCMP, the incident occurred around 22:30 local time near the US-Canadian border in Blaine, Washington. RCMP said they received a tip from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that a group of armed individuals were planning to cross the border illegally.

RCMP deployed a tactical team to intercept the suspects, who opened fire on officers. RCMP returned fire, killing five suspects and wounding three officers with non-life-threatening injuries. No US law enforcement officers were involved in the shooting, CBP said in a statement.

The RCMP said the identities and motives of the suspects are still under investigation. There was no information on the number of suspects or the type of weapons used.

The incident sparked a high-level dialog between the US and Canada on security and intelligence cooperation, with both countries expressing concern about the threat of cross-border violence. US President Joe Biden called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to offer his condolences and support and said they would work together to enhance border security. Trudeau thanked Biden for the call and said they would continue to coordinate closely on the issue.

The incident also drew attention to the issue of gun violence in the US, where mass shootings have increased in recent years. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization that tracks gun-related incidents, the number of mass shootings in the US increased from 646 in 2022 to 657 in 2023. A mass shooting is defined as an incident in which four or more people, excluding the shooter, are shot or killed.