Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A memorial for slain RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year member of the force and mother of two, is seen against a portion of charred highway in Shubenacadie, N.S., on April 21, 2020. Stevenson was one of the victims killed during the April, 2020 rampage through several rural communities in Nova Scotia.

Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

The gunman behind the mass shooting in Nova Scotia was assembling the pieces for the fake police cruiser used in his rampage more than a year before the deadly attack, newly released court documents say.

A heavily redacted RCMP application for a search warrant reveals how Gabriel Wortman used an online PayPal account to purchase equipment for the mock RCMP vehicle he drove in the April 18-19 killings that left 22 people dead in the province. An RCMP officer subsequently killed him at a gas station in Enfield.

The court documents were released Monday through a continuing legal effort from The Globe and Mail and other media outlets.

Story continues below advertisement

The documents also include more warnings from witnesses – and the gunman himself – about his paranoid behaviour in the early days of the global pandemic, as the 51-year-old denturist began stockpiling ammunition and significant amounts of cash.

In one e-mail obtained by the RCMP that was sent in March, about a month before the worst mass shooting in Canadian history, Mr. Wortman said he was preparing for the worst because COVID-19 would make people desperate “once the money runs out." He’d personally withdrawn $475,000 from the bank in preparation for what he thought would be the collapse of the financial system, one witness told police.

“Thank God we are well-armed," Mr. Wortman wrote. The grim comment is contained in the court documents that offer revealing insights into the gunman’s activities and behaviour. According to the RCMP, Mr. Wortman’s March 19 e-mail “talked about how the virus was huge and people have not dealt with something as big as it was.”

The court records also show that the gunman crossed the New Brunswick-Maine border multiple times in April and May of 2019, apparently to pick up police gear such as a siren, light bar and battering ram, which he had purchased online and had delivered to a U.S. postal box. He used companies such as Amazon, Kijiji and eBay to make his cruiser look as real as possible.

There’s also more evidence that warning signs surrounded Mr. Wortman long before his attack. The documents include statements from an unnamed friend of Aaron Tuck, one of the gunman’s neighbours and first victims. After the shootings, the friend told police that Mr. Tuck described violent altercations involving Mr. Wortman when he was drinking, and said he “would terrorize people.”

The man also described seeing a look-alike police vehicle in the man’s garage in 2019. Mr. Wortman told the man he was fixing up the fake cruiser to be used in “parades,” according to the document.

The RCMP have released few details about the firearms Mr. Wortman used during his 13-hour rampage, which started in the village of Portapique, N.S., on the night of April 18.

Story continues below advertisement

Having killed 13 people in the village, most of them friends and neighbours, he fled the area disguised as a Mountie and driving a vehicle that looked exactly like an RCMP cruiser.

The Mounties earlier confirmed that the killer had two semi-automatic handguns and two semi-automatic rifles, but they declined to release further details owing to their continuing investigation.

Gun-control advocates have said details about the firearms are important to the discussion about the federal government’s recent move to ban 1,500 types of military-style assault weapons.

However, the Mounties have confirmed that the gunman had a fifth firearm, which he took from RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson after he rammed his vehicle into her cruiser and then fatally shot her in an exchange of gunfire.

The RCMP warrant application includes fleeting references to the acquisition of weapons, but the redactions make it impossible to decipher how he obtained the four other weapons.

The documents say Mr. Wortman did not have any firearms registered on the Restricted Weapons Registration System, the Canadian Firearms Information System or something called the Cognos client application system.

Story continues below advertisement

The court records also contain references to e-mails between the gunman and Peter Griffon, the man who helped the killer create the decals for the mock RCMP cruiser.

Excerpts from e-mails found on Mr. Griffon’s cellphone indicate that on the morning of April 18, the day the killing started, Mr. Wortman told Mr. Griffon that he was going to go for a drive with his partner, whose name is redacted, to celebrate their anniversary. He also refers to unspecified work the two men would do the following day.

On July 26 and July 31, 2019, Mr. Griffon sent photos to Mr. Wortman showing a white car with RCMP decals on it. Previously released information confirms that the vehicle Mr. Wortman used to evade police on April 18-19 was purchased on July 3, 2019.

Mr. Griffon, who was on parole from prison at the time, later provided a statement to police describing how he had made the decals for Mr. Wortman’s vehicle. Previously convicted of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking in 2017, Mr. Griffon’s parole was revoked when the National Parole Board found out about his work with Mr. Wortman.

With a report from The Canadian Press

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies