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

The Revelstoke Women's Shelter Society has released an educational video about unhealthy relationships. (Contributed)
Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society educates on healthy relationships with new video

April 11-17 is Prevention of Violence Against Women Week

A 46-year-old man from Armstrong died in Revelstoke hospital after being injured in the Lumby area. (File photo)
Armstrong snowmobiler dies in Revelstoke hospital

46-year-old man injured in Tsuius Mountain area of Monashees around Lumby area

Guy Barber in front of his jewellery store at 208 Mackenzie Avenue, circa 1915. (Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 272)
Glimspes of Revelstoke’s past for April 8

Local history as recorded by the newspaper of the time

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: Finding Common Ground Through COVID-19

‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’

Alchemy Studio received a ticked from the RCMP on Thursday, April 8, for staying open despite provincial restrictions ordering yoga studios be closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Contributed)
Revelstoke yoga class fined for defying COVID-19 orders

The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on April 8

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’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

—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.”

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Most Read