A fire-destroyed property registered to Gabriel Wortman at 200 Portapique Beach Road is seen in Portapique, N.S. on May 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A fire-destroyed property registered to Gabriel Wortman at 200 Portapique Beach Road is seen in Portapique, N.S. on May 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia mass killer showed off his ‘military’ style gun, claiming it was for movie

Killer fatally shot 22 people in a 13-hour rampage across Nova Scotia

In the months before he killed 22 people in the Nova Scotia mass shooting, the gunman — who didn’t have a firearms licence — showed a powerful rifle to others and made up a fanciful story about its purpose, witnesses say.

Newly released court documents quote a former “work-related friend” of Gabriel Wortman telling police that near the end of December 2019 or early 2020, the killer opened the trunk of his car and “showed him a big military gun.”

The work associate, who said he’d known the killer for two decades, told police the gunman “brought the gun back from Maine and said that it had no firing pin and that it was for a movie he was going to be making.”

The gunman would go on to use illegally obtained guns with over-capacity magazines, including two semi-automatic rifles and two pistols, to commit his murders during a 13-hour rampage on April 18-19, 2020.

Past summaries of interviews that police carried out to secure search warrants have said guns were obtained by the killer in the United States and that the 51-year-old denturist — who was shot dead by police on April 19 — smuggled the weapons across the border.

Lisa Banfield, the gunman’s common-law spouse, is also quoted as telling police that he “would show guns to people.”

According to an April 28, 2020, statement, Banfield told police that Wortman “showed her sister’s boyfriend a gun at the warehouse and he also showed her brother Jimmy the handgun.”

Banfield’s statement includes her account of how on the night of April 18 she and Wortman argued, and he went on to assault her before she managed to escape into the woods.

She has told police that the killer also fired one of his guns around her.

Banfield told police the killer confined her in a replica police vehicle with a divider between the front and back seats. “She was able to slide the window (of the divider) open and crawl through and escape before Gabriel Wortman returned,” says the summary of her statement.

“Wortman had a friend … who had a firearms licence and Lisa believed that Gabriel would tell (name redacted) what kind of gun he wanted and (he) would get the gun,” she’s quoted as telling police in the edited statement about the killer’s trips to Maine to acquire firearms.

“Lisa Banfield said that Gabriel Wortman had told her how he would wrap firearms and place them in the tonneau cover in order to transport them back to Canada from the United States.” A tonneau cover goes over the unoccupied rear compartment of a vehicle.

READ MORE: Gunman behind mass shooting in Nova Scotia had targets in Halifax: search warrants

A spokeswoman for the RCMP declined comment on whether police ever received a report from anyone about Wortman having illegal guns.

The court documents also indicate that the gunman wasn’t shy about showing others his replica RCMP police vehicle and lying about why he had it.

A friend of one of the gunman’s victims, Aaron Tuck, is quoted as telling police in a May 6, 2020 statement that he and Tuck saw an unmarked police car, with a decal package laid out on a table nearby, at a residence belonging to Wortman.

The friend told police, “Wortman said that he was fixing up the car to use in parades.”

The work associate was also told by the gunman about his plans for a replica car.

“He was getting his car all done up like a RCMP car and…(the witness) thought the car was for the movie too,” he said in the April 27, 2020 statement.

During his rampage, the killer drove a replica RCMP police vehicle as he carried out his killings and eluded police.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Mass shootingsNova Scotia

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

Just Posted

Terrace Community Fund was able to set up the Dare to Dream Fund with a significant donation from Trumpeter Donnie Clark. (File photo)
Dare to Dream Fund set up after a large donation from musician Donnie Clark

The fund will provide financial support for the Dare to Dream music program in Terrace and Thornhill

The average selling price of a single-family home in Terrace has climbed 26 per cent in the last year. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
House prices soar in Terrace

Average prices increased by 26 per cent

Nurse Vicki Niemi administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Joyce, 88, on Mar. 23, 2020 at the Terrace Sportsplex. All adults in Terrace are now eligible to register for a COVID-19 vaccination. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
All adults in Terrace can now register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Community members can register by calling 833-838-2323 or visiting getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca

April 2020 to March 2021 was the second wettest year on record since at least 1969, according to Environment Canada. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
VIDEO: Terrace records wettest spell in over a half-century

Terrace saw close to 1,500 millimetres of precipitation between April 2020 and March 2021

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Most Read