N.S. gunman described as paranoid, disturbed and a psychopath, unsealed search warrants reveal
TORONTO -- Newly unsealed search warrants reveal that the gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia had multiple weapons and was described as paranoid by people who knew him.
According to the 40-page document released by a Nova Scotia judge on Tuesday, police officers found five firearms and ammunition in the vehicle Gabriel Wortman was driving, in addition to a pistol belonging to Const. Heidi Stevenson, a Mountie who was killed while trying to stop him.
The document, which includes redactions, does not reveal the calibres or models of the gunman's firearms.
Search warrants were executed at properties belonging to Gabriel Wortman on April 24, according to the document. The order allowed police to search all buildings and vehicles on his two properties.
The document also outlines statements made by witnesses and people who knew the 51-year-old denturist. Their names have been redacted.
The statements describe him as "disturbed" and "a psychopath." One person alleges in the document that the gunman was "severely abused as a young boy."
Someone described as having worked with the gunman said he was "paranoid" about the COVID-19 pandemic and that he'd experienced a mental breakdown. The person told police officers that Wortman had guns at his denturist clinic in Dartmouth and in a warehouse in Portapique, adding that he talked about all types of guns, assault rifles and handguns.
Several witnesses told RCMP that Wortman had recently bought $800 worth of gas. One said they believe he had also purchased propane bottles.
The former colleague also said that Wortman would dress up as a police officer and would role play. A specific timeline of these role-playing incidents was not included in the document.
Those who knew Wortman told police he talked openly about how to "get rid of a body." According to the documents, he told people that he kept barrels of lime and muriatic acid under his deck.
The document also includes a summary of the statement Wortman's girlfriend gave police.
According to the document, she told police that they had been having drinks and FaceTiming friends at his warehouse on the evening of April 18 when they had an argument.
The person's name is redacted but police previously said that Wortman began his attack by handcuffing and assaulting his girlfriend before she escaped and hid in the surrounding woods.
The document said she told police that Wortman "didn't like police officers and thought he was better than them." She said Wortman had a relationship with someone in the RCMP and was able to obtain one of his uniforms, though it didn't fit.
"He had a fluorescent yellow jacket and he would put it in the front seat to make it look like he was a police officer," Wortman's girlfriend told investigators in the document.
She said she saw Wortman pour accelerant in the cottage and put several firearms in the front seat of one of the vehicles he'd designed to look like an RCMP cruiser before she escaped, as per the document.
It is also revealed in the documents that RCMP officers to first arrive on the scene in Portapique on April 18 were told by a wounded neighbour that the gunman owned a police patrol car with a fake number on it. However, police did not notify the public about this until 10:17 a.m. the next morning via Twitter.
The rampage, which began in Portapique, N.S. on April 18, claimed the lives of 22 people and left others injured. The rampage involved multiple shootings with unlicensed semi-automatic weapons and arson attacks on homes using gasoline. It ended on April 19, when the gunman was fatally shot by RCMP at a gas station in Enfield, approximately 100 kilometres from where the attacks started.
RCMP say they are still investigating how Wortman obtained the weapons used in the rampage.
Several media outlets including CTV News were part of an application to unseal these documents.
There are another six search warrants that federal and provincial prosecutors are in the process of redacting in accordance with the RCMP and CBSA. They are expected to be released at the next hearing on May 25.