aA fire-destroyed property registered to Gabriel Wortman at 200 Portapique Beach Road is seen in Portapique, N.S. on Friday, May 8, 2020. A former neighbour of the gunman behind last month’s mass shooting in Nova Scotia says she reported his domestic violence and cache of firearms to the RCMP years ago and ended up leaving the community herself due to fears of his violence.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

aA fire-destroyed property registered to Gabriel Wortman at 200 Portapique Beach Road is seen in Portapique, N.S. on Friday, May 8, 2020. A former neighbour of the gunman behind last month’s mass shooting in Nova Scotia says she reported his domestic violence and cache of firearms to the RCMP years ago and ended up leaving the community herself due to fears of his violence.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia RCMP use warrants to find killer’s cellphone, computer and other devices

Gunman killed 22 people in an April shooting rampage

As police continue their investigation into a mass killing that claimed 22 lives last month in rural Nova Scotia, newly released documents reveal the RCMP recently seized and searched the killer’s computer, cellphone, tablet and navigation devices.

The search warrants, unsealed by a judge on Monday, do not provide details about what police found because their investigation has yet to be completed. As a result, the documents are heavily redacted.

The warrants say police were looking for firearms, ammunition, explosives, chemicals, surveillance systems, computers, electronic devices, police-related clothing, human remains and “documents related to planning mass murder events” and the acquisition of weapons.

Each of the warrants is accompanied by a grim recounting of the events that started on the night of April 18, when 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman allegedly assaulted his common-law spouse at one of his seasonal homes in the village of Portapique, N.S.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia mass killer’s semi-automatic guns believed to have come from U.S.

Armed with several semi-automatic weapons, he set fire to properties and killed 13 people in Portapiqe before he left the area, disguised as a Mountie and driving a vehicle that looked exactly like an RCMP cruiser.

He killed another nine people the following day in several other communities in northern and central Nova Scotia before an RCMP officer fatally shot him at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., about 90 kilometres south of Portapique.

The suspect remained at large for 13 hours.

“Gabriel Wortman showed a complete disregard for human life as he shot at people sitting in their cars, people walking along the side of the road, and at people in their private homes,” says a document prepared by RCMP Sgt. Angela Hawryluk.

Investigators have said little when asked what may have motivated the killer.

The RCMP documents say police seized a Samsung cellphone, Toshiba laptop, Acer tablet, a data-storage card and a Garmin global positioning device from the gunman’s denture clinic in Dartmouth, N.S., on April 20, the day after he was killed by police.

As well, the warrants and other documents say police have obtained data from the infotainment systems inside two vehicles seized from the same property: a 2013 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor and a 2015 C-300 Mercedes-Benz.

Police say these systems can store synchronized cellphone data regarding navigation, texting, phone calls and internet-enabled content including traffic conditions and weather.

Meanwhile, the RCMP have filed a so-called production order with telecommunications provider Telus Communications Inc., based in Scarborough, Ont. The order says the Mounties are seeking documents and data from Telus Mobility, but the specific requests have been redacted.

READ MORE: How Nova Scotia mass shooting could bring law that makes abusers’ tactics a crime

Investigators obtained warrants to search at least four other properties owned by the killer, two of them in Portapique.

Police confirmed that nothing was seized from 287 Portapique Beach Road, which was destroyed by fire.

At another burned property, 136 Orchard Beach Drive, police found something they described as “rounds,” but the description on either side of that word has been blacked out.

At 200 Portapique Beach Road, Wortman’s main seasonal residence, police found an ammunition box with a burnt $100 bill, a black plastic bag, a burnt receipt box and burnt pieces of a rifle.

Police were also granted permission to search a second denture clinic at 3542 Novalea Drive in Halifax, where they hoped to find another computer. But the search turned up nothing.

The documents released Monday were unsealed after a media consortium, including The Canadian Press, went to court.

Last week, the court released other documents that revealed statements from witnesses who described Wortman as an abusive “sociopath” who had suffered a mental breakdown and was stockpiling guns while displaying paranoid behaviour because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One witness said Wortman “had been disturbed and that he was severely abused as a young boy,” adding he was “very smart, cheated and was a psychopath.” Another witness said Wortman had described ways to get rid of bodies using chemicals.

The document confirmed Wortman had purchased used police cars at auctions and had obtained decals to make one vehicle, another Ford Taurus, look exactly like an RCMP cruiser.

In the reasons given for seeking search warrants, Hawryluk describes how the first two officers to arrive in Portapique on the night of April 18 encountered a wounded witness who told them he’d been fired upon by a man in uniform driving what they thought was an RCMP vehicle.

The witness told police his “first suspicion was that (the gunman) was … Gabe (Wortman) because his barn was on fire and he had a look-a-like Taurus that he was calling a police car.”

Michael MacDonald, 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 ScotiaRCMP

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

Just Posted

Madyson Clark, 15, is excited for the upcoming dirt track season. She is pictured here in the window frame of her 1981 Monte Carlo, her name scribbled across the roof. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)
Dirt track driver one step closer to racing in Clearwater

The Clearwater Speedway season opens in May

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

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
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Federation president Brian Sauve says asking the police to enforce roadblocks puts even greater pressure on limited resources and exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Shannon Zirnhelt, from left, her son Lockie, 3, Julia Zirnhelt, 13, and Ella Krus, 13, co-founders of Third Planet Crusade are featured in a music video set to air on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.-made music video launched in time for Earth Day 2021

Singer songwriter Shannon Zirnhelt worked with Third Planet Crusade on the project in the Cariboo

Most Read