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

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine 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 open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read