RCMP investigators search for evidence at the location where Const. Heidi Stevenson was killed along the highway in Shubenacadie, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2020. Court documents released today describe the violence a Nova Scotia mass killer inflicted on his father years before his rampage, as well as the gunman’s growing paranoia before the outburst of shootings and killings.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Warrant reveals Nova Scotia mass killer’s violence against family, suspicious finances

Fifty-one-year man took 22 lives on April 18-19 before police killed him at a service station in Enfield, N.S.

Court documents released Monday describe the violence a Nova Scotia mass killer inflicted on his father years before his rampage as well as the gunman’s paranoia and suspicious financial transactions ahead of the killings.

Fifty-one-year Gabriel Wortman took 22 lives on April 18-19 before police killed him at a service station in Enfield, N.S.

In documents that a media consortium, including The Canadian Press, went before a provincial court judge to obtain, Wortman’s spouse and cousin both describe how in 2016 he smashed his father’s head against the pool during a family vacation in the Caribbean, causing blood to flow in the water.

The cousin, a former RCMP officer, said as Wortman was growing up he was a “strange little guy” who later became a career criminal who financed his way through university with illegal alcohol and tobacco smuggling.

“(The cousin) went to Dominican (Republic) in 2016 with family and could see problems with Gabriel … While in Dominican he beat up his father,” the document states.

The document says the witness told police he’d believed Wortman was capable of perhaps killing his parents but hadn’t imagined he would go on a mass shooting rampage.

The accounts of Wortman’s tensions with neighbours are also discussed in the documents, with one witness describing how the 51-year-old denturist had once argued with Aaron Tuck — a Portapique neighbour he would later murder during the rampage — over the price Tuck was asking for his home.

The spouse told investigators Wortman disliked police officers and even once mentioned they would be easy to murder.

Yet, there is also a description from her of a calm period on the morning of April 18, as the couple drove around the countryside in the area of Debert, N.S., hours before he began his rampage.

“We were making plans,” she’s quoted as saying about the night of April 18. “It’s like he snapped. I don’t know.”

The documents contain a chilling description of the gunman’s attempt to kill RCMP Const. Chad Morrison in Shubenacadie, N.S., on April 19, when the officer was shot and wounded by Wortman.

Morrison said as he awaited his partner, Const. Heidi Stevenson, he hadn’t been expecting Wortman’s arrival, believing the gunman was still 22 kilometres to the northwest.

The constable realized Wortman’s intent as he pulled alongside him in the replica police cruiser he drove for much of his rampage.

“Const. Morrison said the suspect looked to have a melancholy expression as he was turning in front of him and then he had a ‘grit’ look on his face as he started to raise the gun,” the document said.

The documents released by Judge Laurel Halfpenny MacQuarrie include an account of a federal Finance Department agency looking into allegedly suspicious financial transactions by Wortman and Northumberland Investments Inc., a firm he owned.

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FINTRAC, told the RCMP it learned that ”Gabriel Wortman used his account to make purchases of vehicle accessories commonly used by police, including items explicitly labelled as being intended for police use via eBay.”

It’s unclear from the document when FINTRAC first started tracking Wortman’s financial activities, but the court documents say the reports were prepared April 22 and 30, shortly after his rampage.

Erica Constant, a spokesperson for FINTRAC, said in an email the agency is prohibited from disclosing information that may have been provided to it by police, and a RCMP spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The agency looked at transactions on Aug. 10, 2010, when Northumberland made deposits of $200,000 in cash and $46,000 from a term deposit to a Toronto-Dominion bank in Fredericton. There is a also detailed account of how Wortman received $475,000 in $100 bills from a Brinks facility in Dartmouth, N.S., on March 30 this year, as he grew increasingly anxious about COVID-19.

Investigators also describe a series of 2019 transactions the gunman made via PayPal as he created his mock police vehicle. The purchases included police cars, light bars, siren light controls, a dashboard camera, vinyl decals and a push bar for the front of the car to create an almost identical replica.

In addition, witnesses quoted in the documents cast fresh light on the assistance Wortman received in creating decals for the vehicle. Peter Griffon provided a statement to police describing how he’d made the RCMP decals for Wortman’s car, without the knowledge of his employer, using a computer at the back of the shop to research RCMP emblems.

The owner of the graphics company is quoted in the documents saying he’d told Griffon not to make the decals, as “he should not be messing around with stuff like that.”

Griffon, who was on parole from prison, has since had his parole revoked as a result of the work he did for Wortman.

The 40-year-old man had been on parole, and living with his parents in Portapique, N.S., doing odd jobs for Wortman, when he completed the decal work.

A National Parole Board decision provided to The Canadian Press says Griffon was convicted of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking in 2017, and received parole a year later.

The board said in its decision, “the consequences of your (Griffon’s) most recent flawed decision-making contributed to a horrific end that touched every life in your province. Those decisions are inconsistent with being on parole.”

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.

Nova Scotia

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

Just Posted

Screen shot of a cabin somewhere in the Bulkley Valley from rare 1955 film footage of the area.
VIDEO: More rare film footage of the Bulkley Valley in 1955

Can you help identify the locations and/or people in these videos

Shea Long roosts in the Shoot Out in the Telkwa Range. (SnoRiders, Houston/Shea Long photo)
Telkwa Range snowmobiling permit lottery opens

Application period is Oct. 20 to Nov. 20 for snowmobiliers and skiers to gain access to Starr Basin

The Dupras family has been regulars at the Babine River and have seen plentiful grizzlies over the years. (Jay Dupras photo/Lakes District News)
A family’s close encounter with a grizzly on Babine River bridge

Photo-enthusiasts let the bear access the bridge for photos putting others at risk

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals. (Black Press Composite Photo)
Nathan Cullen, right, looks on as Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader Chief Woos, also known as Frank Alec, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relation, Carolyn Bennett and B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser address the media in Smithers, B.C., Sunday, March 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
10 Gitxsan hereditary chiefs call for BC NDP to remove Cullen as Stikine candidate

Ten Gitxsan hereditary chiefs have called for the firing of NDP candidate… Continue reading

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read