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

A small number of the masks available at Disguise the Limit. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
West Shore costume expert showcases pandemic-safe Halloween looks

Maureen Cue models the best masked Halloween costumes

The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
Sexual assault suspect sought by West Shore RCMP

Police are looking for help identifying this man

Lookout Lake water levels are low as the dam undergoes upgrades. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Colwood dam upgrades projected to be under budget

Province designates Lookout Brook as a high consequence dam should it fail

The Turkey Head Walkway. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay community sees untapped potential in Turkey Head

Part 3 of a closer look at Oak Bay Marina and Turkey Head

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Most Read