EDMONTON -- A Red Deer woman is grieving the lives of her sister, niece and brother-in-law killed in a mass shooting in Nova Scotia.  

Jolene Oliver, her husband Aaron (Friar) Tuck and 17-year-old Emily Tuck were three of at least 18 killed in the violent rampage overnight Saturday.

"I'm trying to understand I can't talk to my sister, I can't call her all the time. I can't hug my niece," Tammy Oliver-McCurdie told CTV News.

She said the family was neighbours with the suspected shooter.

After news of the tragedy broke, Oliver-McCurdie and family spent the day trying to get in touch with Jolene.

"That was excruciating, waiting for answers, not knowing if she was missing, if she was hurt or injured.

"I called all the hospitals, not knowing if the worst of the worst was going to happen, if either one of them was alive."

Aaron had a "great mechanical mind," Oliver-McCurdie said, and Emily was kind and bright spirited. Jolene will be remembered as a people person who met and made many friends over 20 years as a server. McCurdie-Oliver said she loved poetry and was always optimistic.

The Red Deer resident said she and Jolene recently reconnected after not talking for two years.

"I just wish I had more time. If I knew, I just wish I had more of those conversations."

During their last conversation, the sisters joked about Oliver-McCurdie and her family moving to Nova Scotia if the pandemic grew worse.

Instead, Oliver-McCurdie finds herself planning a trip to the east coast for a ceremony for the Tucks' local family and friends.

The family is fundraising so they can afford the unexpected burials and remembrances in both provinces.

"They were so young. They just weren't set up that way."

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney offered his condolences to the victims and all of Nova Scotia. 

“We join, I think, all Canadians in condemning this act of unbridled evil by a deranged and egotistical individual in these selfish and destructive acts of violence,” he said Monday afternoon. 

Nova Scotia flag at AB fed building

The flags in the legislature and federal government buildings were lowered in respect, and the Nova Scotia flag was flown outside the federal building in honour.

The City of Edmonton also planned to light the High Level Bridge blue and white. 

The death toll had risen to 19, including the suspect, by Monday morning, with officials expecting more victims to be found.

Police will be piecing together the shooter's path, which connects several communities across the province in an attack RCMP have described as "at least in part, very random in nature."

With files from CTV News