New information suggests N.S. killer had 'tremendous fire power' and other possible targets
HALIFAX -- New information released by court order now reveals the types of firearms the perpetrator of Canada's worst mass murder had with him when he was shot and killed by RCMP after his 13-hour killing rampage.
On the night of April 18, the killer set fire to several homes and killed 13 people in Portapique, N.S., before evading police later that night. Gabriel Wortman carried out his crimes while dressed as a Mountie and driving a vehicle made to look like an RCMP cruiser.
He went on to kill nine more people at locations throughout Colchester County the next morning. One of the victims was pregnant when she was shot and killed in her vehicle.
RCMP investigators had indicated earlier that the guns used by Wortman in the killings were obtained illegally.
On Wednesday, new details revealed in RCMP search warrant applications list the exact firearms found in the vehicle he was using shortly before he was killed by police at the Irving Big Stop gas station in Enfield, N.S., on April 19.
Those details confirm the guns were illegally obtained in both Canada and the United States.
According to information provided by RCMP Sgt. Larry Peyton, two semi-automatic rifles were found in the vehicle. A Colt's Law Enforcement Carbine rifle was engaged in the "fire" position, loaded with a full over-capacity magazine. There were three other over-capacity magazines present, designed to hold 30 rounds each. Sgt. Peyton sourced the firearm to a gun shop in California.
The second rifle was a Ruger Mini 14, also loaded with an over-capacity magazine. There was also three other such magazines present, each capable of holding 40 rounds. That firearm was traced back to a gun store in Winnipeg.
The killer did not have a firearms licence. Over-capacity magazines for semi-automatic firearms are illegal in Canada.
"He had tremendous fire power," says CTV Public Safety Analyst Chris Lewis, a former Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner. "He had as much fire power as the responding police officers had in terms of the semi-automatic rifles, with large magazine capacities, and handguns. The magazines alone were illegal, let alone the fact he wasn't allowed to have any firearms in his possession."
The new information also indicates the shooter had two pistols with him: a Glock 23 and a Ruger P89. Both were equipped with laser sights. The RCMP tracked both guns back to an unnamed gun shop in Maine.
The fifth gun in the shooter's possession at the time of his death was the Smith and Wesson 9mm issued to RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson. The officer was shot and killed by the gunman during the intensive police manhunt.
Documents also indicate that Sgt. Peyton found a business card for a gun store in Maine while executing a search warrant at the shooter's dental practice in Dartmouth, N.S. The card for Bob and Tom's Gun Shop in Mattawamkeag, Maine, included the name, Bob Berg.
CTV News called the number listed for the gun shop. A woman who identified herself as Robert Berg Sr.'s spouse told CTV News she didn't recognize the shooter's name, nor had she heard about the mass shooting in Nova Scotia. She told CTV News the shop closed down after her husband had a stroke several years ago. When pressed further, she hung up.
Last Friday, investigators charged three people -- including the shooter's common-law partner and her brother -- with unlawfully transferring ammunition to Wortman.
Lisa Diana Banfield, 52, and James Blair Banfield, 64, both of Dartmouth, and Brian Brewster, 60, of Sackville, are accused of providing the shooter with .223-calibre Remington and .40-calibre Smith and Wesson cartridges between March 17 and March 18.
The allegations have not been tested in court. Police have said there is no indication the three had any prior knowledge of the gunman's actions.
The newly-released information does suggest the gunman behind the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia had planned to "get" someone in Halifax during his murderous rampage. Those details are included in a partially-redacted statement from Lisa Banfield.
The documents describe how police in Halifax went to a residence, located a woman and another unknown individual, and provided them with security as Wortman had not been located.
The details released Tuesday also include a statement from a witness described as a friend of the shooter, who first met him in 2011. That statement suggests the shooter had two crates of grenades "that he got from the U.S."
The lawyer representing the families of those killed says there is some evidence to support that.
"Actually one of the family members found wooden ammunition cases at the Portapique site," says Robert Pineo. "Of course that evidence has been preserved, but it was wooden containers, which most people understand, explosive devices are packed in wooden containers."
Pineo says the families of those killed have a long list of questions they would like answered. He says, so far, it seems those answers may only come through the courts, or in the forthcoming joint public inquiry.
"The really pressing ones, they would like to know more information regarding the killer's escape from Portapique, more information about the lack of public alerts by some medium other than social, and more information regarding the days leading up to the massacre starting."