The Nova Scotia gunman who killed 22 people in a series of shootings last month was a “psychopath” and “paranoid” about the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to newly released police documents.
The details about the gunman were part of an “Information to Obtain (ITO)” document released by a Nova Scotia judge on Tuesday. Police are required to file ITOs when seeking legal authorization to conduct a search of someone’s property.
The 40-page document is for two properties the gunman owned, 136 Orchard Beach Dr. and 200 Portapique Beach Rd., and contains statements from witnesses given to RCMP and Halifax Regional Police on April 19.
One witness, apparently an employee who worked at one of Gabriel Wortman’s denture clinics, told police that the gunman “had been disturbed and that he was severely abused as a young boy.” The allegations contained in the ITO have not been proven in court.
“Wortman was very smart, cheated, was a psychopath and abused,” the police document said.
The witness told police that the gunman had a “mental break down” and spoke about the deed for a property in Portapique, a community of about 100 people 40 kilometres west of Truro.
“There were guns at the warehouse and the dental office,” the document said. “Wortman talked about all types of guns, assault rifles, hand guns but (redacted) did not know where or how he got them.”
Witnesses also told police the gunman was a “sociopath” and “abusive” and disliked police.
“Wortman recently bought $800 worth of gasoline,” the document said. “Wortman showed (redacted) a gun (redacted) and (redacted) was uncomfortable and described it as being like a machine gun.
“This gun was kept by the fire place in the warehouse.”
Several witness statements described the gunman’s collection of firearms, decommissioned police cars and police uniforms.
“Wortman would dress up as a police officer and would role play,” the document said, noting the gunman had a whole uniform, including a hat, jacket and a vest.
On the evening of April 18, RCMP said the gunman assaulted his common-law spouse before launching into a terrifying 13-hour rampage across rural Nova Scotia, dressed in an authentic RCMP uniform and driving an exact replica of an RCMP cruiser.
When police arrived on the evening of April 18 in Portapique, they encountered a grisly scene with several homes on fire and the bodies of occupants laying on the ground.
The rampage ended at a gas station in Enfield, about 92 kilometres south of Portapique, when the gunman was fatally shot by police the morning of April 19.
Several media outlets, including Global News, have been fighting for the release of the ITOs that were filed in the wake of the shootings.
In a hearing in Truro provincial court Tuesday morning, Judge Laurel Halfpenny MacQuarrie authorized the release of one of the ITOs, which lays out evidence investigators gathered to support a warrant.
The ITOs include a statement taken from the gunman’s girlfriend, who was assaulted the night of April 18 but escaped and hid in the woods overnight. She emerged in the early morning hours of April 19 and told police the gunman was heavily armed and driving a replica RCMP cruiser.
The RCMP have previously said they have identified the source of the RCMP decals and that they were created at a business without the permission of the business owner. Both the owner and the individual who made the decals are co-operating with police.
Gunman described getting rid of bodies
Witnesses also told police that the gunman had several police vehicles and that he was “a millionaire.”
They described the gunman as being paranoid about the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing lockdowns in response to the virus.
“Wortman would speak about getting rid of bodies, burning and chemicals,” the document said. “(He) was paranoid and controlling.”
“He would tell (redacted) different ways to get rid of a body and had lime and muriatic acid on the property,” the document said. “The barrels for these would be underneath the deck.”
When asked by police if the gunman had any “booby traps” at his home following the shootings, a witness advised police to turn off the power to his properties in Portapique as they “wouldn’t put it past (Wortman) after what unfolded today.”
In an update to the ongoing investigation last week, RCMP said that ground-penetrating radar was used to search under the ground at Wortman’s property in Portapique, but nothing of relevance was found.
Investigators have also spoken to 500 witnesses and are continuing to conduct interviews, according to the RCMP, adding that searches of 17 crime scenes from the rampage have now ended.
Police have said they want to speak with anyone who “had a conflict with the gunman, whether professional or personal, at any time” and are asking anyone to call an RCMP tip line at 1-833-570-0121.
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