Witness said killer in N.S. mass shooting ‘recently’ acquired gun from estate

Witness said killer in N.S. mass shooting ‘recently’ acquired gun from estate

HALIFAX — A portion of a witness statement released Friday says the gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia had ”recently” acquired one of his firearms in Canada from the estate of a friend who died.

The disclosure following a court hearing still doesn’t provide the calibre or model of the five weapons that Gabriel Wortman used during his 13-hour rampage.

Crown prosecutors voluntarily released a few previously hidden details to a media consortium after a court hearing, though large sections of the court documents remain redacted.

The media group, which includes The Canadian Press, is seeking wider disclosure of the evidence police used to obtain search warrants related to the April 18-19 mass shooting.

The RCMP had said in a June 4 news conference that of the five firearms possessed by the killer, three were obtained illegally from the United States and one was obtained illegally in Canada “through the estate of a deceased associate.”

A witness statement to RCMP taken on April 19 — blacked out prior to Friday’s release — says, “Gabriel Wortman just recently acquired guns from a friend who passed away.” The witness, whose identity is redacted, also told officers he thought Wortman owned a bulletproof vest and collected guns.

And the person described Wortman’s property on Portapique Beach Road as having a large garage with rooms upstairs. “There are lots of motorcycles and a RCMP car that Gabriel was fixing up,” the statement said.

The Canadian Press has emailed the RCMP to ask for the date Wortman acquired the Canadian firearm, but a spokeswoman said she didn’t expect to be able to provide a response to that and other questions until next week.

The RCMP had earlier confirmed the killer’s firearms included two semi-automatic handguns and two semi-automatic rifles but declined further details due to the ongoing investigation.

Gun control advocates have said details about the firearms used are important to the discussion surrounding the federal government’s recent move to ban 1,500 types of military-style assault firearms, and other firearms legislation.

The fifth firearm was taken from RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson after Wortman’s vehicle ran into hers and he killed her in an exchange of gunfire.

The Crown also released a sentence from a witness statement saying the gunman purchased material used for the RCMP decals on his replica vehicle on July 3, about nine months before his rampage.

On April 28, RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell told a news conference the 51-year-old denturist was believed to have obtained the vehicle last fall and outfitted it with the decals then.

The court also released a seventh search warrant, with large portions blacked out, in which officers sought records for Wortman’s landline telephone and a cellular phone.

It notes Wortman didn’t own a cellphone and he had smashed another person’s cellphone, which police believed was in the burnt remains of his home in Portapique, N.S.

“The historical call details in the possession of Bell Aliant … will show who Gabriel Wortman and (name blanked out) had been in contact with prior to Gabriel Wortman commencing his killing,” the officer said in the April 24 document.

“The information will assist in determining if there are any co-conspirators in this tragic event.”

The RCMP said in an email they will respond next week to a question about whether they have determined if there were co-conspirators.

Each of the applications for a search warrant is accompanied by a grim recounting of the events that started on the night of April 18, when the killer assaulted his common-law spouse at his seasonal home in the village of Portapique.

Armed with several semi-automatic weapons, he set fire to properties and killed 13 people in Portapique before he left the area, disguised as a Mountie and driving the vehicle that looked exactly like an RCMP cruiser.

He killed another nine people the following day in several other communities in northern and central Nova Scotia before an RCMP officer fatally shot him at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., about 90 kilometres south of Portapique.

His victims included an RCMP officer, two nurses, two correctional officers, a family of three, a teacher and some of his neighbours in Portapique.

There have been numerous calls for a public inquiry to investigate how police handled one of the worst mass shootings in Canadian history, including pleas from relatives of victims, politicians and more than 30 professors at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Last week, Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister Mark Furey indicated some form of federal-provincial review or inquiry was in the works, but the specific nature of the investigation remained unclear.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2020.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey. Photo Submitted
Rimbey hotel gets new lease on life

The Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey is now open and taking bookings

Leanne Evans, Rimbey Neighbourhood Place Program Coordinator, accepts a donation of $5,000 from Kevin Maxwell manager of Field Support for Telus. (Photo Submitted)
Rimbey Neighbourhood Place making big changes behind the scenes

Rimbey Neighbourhood Place recently recieved a $5,000 donation from Telus

robbery
UPDATE: Suspect identified in early morning shooting

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Conservative member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals say Tory effort to set up COVID-19 committee will be a confidence matter

The Tories were originally proposing an ‘anticorruption’ committee

File photo
RCMP’s response to online discussions about anti-racism demonstrations

Ponoka RCMP Staff Sgt.’s comments misattributed online

Shaelynn Decock and her dog Taco, who has been missing since Aug. 26. Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake woman looking for closure for her stolen dog

Shaelynn Decock says it has been two months since she last saw her dog Taco

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday February 4, 2020 in Ottawa. The Alberta government is welcoming news that Ottawa has approved an expansion of the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. gathering system in Alberta — while condemning federal delays that it says cost this summer’s construction season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta welcomes federal approval of gas pipeline expansion while criticizing delay

The project is expected to create up to 2,920 direct jobs during construction, the federal release said

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

A narwhal tusk that was donated to a Goodwill store in northwest Calgary this summer will soon be gifted to the Arctic Institute of North America (Hesam Rezaei)
Narwhal tusk discovered in Calgary Goodwill pile to be donated to university

The tusk had federal hunting tags from 1978 attached that say animal was harvested from the central Arctic

(The Canadian Press)
Alberta-raised Cree actor lands role in Disney’s live-action ‘Peter Pan and Wendy’

Tiger Lily is featured in Disney’s 1953 animated “Peter Pan” film

Most Read