Several people who knew the man who killed 22 in Nova Scotia last month believed him to be an intelligent "psychopath,” recently unsealed RCMP documents say.
The documents, which police used to obtain search warrants for the gunman’s properties and belongings, were unsealed on May 19, after several media companies challenged them in court. You can read the full documents here:
“Gabriel Wortman showed a complete disregard for human life as he shot at people sitting in their cars, people walking on the side of the road, and at people in their private homes,” reads one of the final lines of the heavily redacted documents.
From the evening of April 18 to the morning of April 19, the gunman travelled rural Nova Scotia dressed as a police officer and killed indiscriminately. He was shot dead by a police team he encountered by chance while stopping to fill up a vehicle he had stolen from a woman he killed. His victims include nurses, an RCMP officer, a retired firefighter, and a 17-year-old girl.
Several times in the documents the killer is described as an “intelligent” yet paranoid psychopath obsessed with the police. Several of the interviewees said he was abusive towards his partner. One witness said he was severely abused as a child. The 51-year-old was paranoid because of the pandemic and had recently bought $800 worth of gasoline and several propane bottles. Several witnesses said he had a large collection of guns and even kept some at his denture clinics.
One of the biggest questions of the investigation is how he obtained his guns as he did not have a firearm license. When police shot him dead he had five weapons and a significant amount of ammunition with him. These include two semi-automatic rifles, two pistols, and a sidearm he stole from Cst. Heidi Stevenson, the RCMP officer he killed. Police say they were able to “source” several of the non-RCMP weapons he had on him but redacted where they were from. Police had earlier suggested he obtained at least some of his guns outside of Canada.
Many of the people interviewed were knowledgeable about the man’s obsession with firearms and his growing collection of them. One even described being uncomfortable by a "machine-gun"-like firearm he owned and stored in his garage.
One person said that the gunman would often speak about disposing of bodies and even had some of the chemicals that would aid him in the task. The killer’s home and garage were fully locked down and had numerous security cameras. His paranoia was so extreme that one acquaintance said the sheer amount of cameras on the property made them feel like they "were being watched." Another witness warned the police to shut the power off before they entered the properties because he “wouldn’t put it past” the killer to have booby-trapped the place.
One interviewee said that the gunman had multiple police uniforms and “would dress up as a police officer and would role-play." The documents say the killer had a family member who was a retired RCMP officer who gave him an ill-fitting uniform. Another person interviewed said that the killer thought police officers were lower than him.
“(The Witness) said that Wortman wasn't a wannabe police officer and didn't like police officers and thought he was better than them," reads the documents.
The documents contain several witnesses' descriptions of first-hand encounters during the rampages. One said that the killer came up to their door and banged while they hid inside until he finally left. Another witness describes seeing him torch two cars after killing Cst. Stevenson. One of the witnesses interviewed was shot by the gunman at the very start of the rampage on the night of April 18. The person said they saw a home on fire and a police cruiser parked in front of it. The victims only realized the person behind the wheel wasn’t a legitimate police officer at the very last second.
“The police vehicle…. pulled up beside them so he rolled down the window to talk to him before he could say anything. He pulled a gun out and started shooting at them through his passenger side window into the riverside window,” the documents say.
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