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

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

Supporters gather during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mirror Alta, on Saturday May 8, 2021. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police hand out tickets to dozens leaving anti-lockdown protest in Alberta

Hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Café in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta.

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Alberta leads the Prairie provinces in being the first to take COVID-19 vaccine bookings for pre-teens. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta leads Prairie provinces in accepting COVID vaccine bookings for pre-teens

The province begins accepting appointments for kids as young as 12 starting today

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of 5-year-old girl

The woman was charged and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and assault with weapons, including a belt and a spatula

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 2,042 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)

Most Read