N.S. shooter was just metres away from police at Elmsdale service station - but nothing happened
HALIFAX -- Confirmation that the man responsible for Nova Scotia’s mass killing last April was in close proximity to police at a Petro Canada service station in Elmsdale will not affect the final report into the gunman’s demise.
Felix Cacchione, the director of the province’s Serious Incident Response Team, says footage leaked to Frank Magazine doesn’t show anything he didn’t already know as part of his team’s investigation into the shooting death of the gunman by police at the Irving Big Stop in Enfield on April 19, 2020.
“It doesn’t affect the report I issued,” says Cacchione, noting that he and his team had reviewed security footage from both gas stations as part of their examination of the events.
The silent security footage – which hasn’t been independently verified by CTV News, appears to show the gunman pulling into the Petro Canada gas station in Elmsdale, dressed in civilian clothing and driving the car of his last victim, Gina Goulet.
A tactical van and several officers are on the opposite side of the pump at the same station.
The gunman tries to pull the gas hose towards the vehicle, but realizes he’s parked on the wrong side. He then moves the car to another pump but doesn’t get out. Instead, he drives away.
The footage was provided to Frank Magazine writer Paul Palango from an unnamed source. Palango says the video raises questions.
“This is a very serious public policy issue now that needs to be explained,” he says.
Palango believes the video illustrates RCMP knew the gunman was in Elmsdale first, then pursued him to Enfield.
The footage from the Irving Big Stop is grainy but shows an officer in tactical gear getting out of a vehicle at the gas pump, weapon drawn.
Another angle shows a hand reaching from inside the gunman’s vehicle, then the passenger side window shatters.
Palango claims police didn’t follow procedure.
“We have Wortman being shot by police, no attempt was made to arrest him,” he says.
But SiRT director Felix Caccione says that’s not what happened.
“I want to make it very clear,” he says, “the police did not recognize Mr. Wortman at the Petro Can.”
SiRT’s final report into the killing of the gunman by police, delivered in December, found the two officers who shot him recognized him by chance, and were justified in their actions.
The gunman’s stop at the Petro Canada station in Elmsdale isn’t part of the SiRT report, nor the RCMP’s official timeline of events.
Wednesday, the RCMP confirmed it is part of their investigation into the tragedy but was not shared publicly.
Former Ontario provincial police commissioner and CTV public safety analyst Chris Lewis says the leaked video doesn’t show the whole picture.
“You can clearly see the RCMP officers,” he says, “but you cannot see the suspect in the car.”
Lewis says the video doesn’t show exactly what the gunman is doing, actions which would have informed the response from officers on the scene.
“We have to bear in mind that the two officers who engaged Wortman and killed him, were aware of numerous people, he had shot and killed one of their colleagues, he’d shot another RCMP colleague who was lucky to live,” he says, “so they’re not going to take a lot of time to allow this guy to put his hands in the air.”
“If he didn’t put his hands up quick, he was going to die,” says Lewis, “and that’s exactly what happened, so I can’t be critical of the RCMP at all, even though some so-called experts are wanting to point the finger at them…(the gunman) is who we need to point our fingers at.”
Wednesday, the Nova Scotia RCMP said it won’t comment further on the matter, in light of the ongoing work of the Mass Casualty Commission.
The Commission has announced its public proceedings will begin October 26th.