Police officials in Canada Friday revealed more details about last weekend’s shooting rampage in rural Nova Scotia that left 22 people dead, the worst mass killing in the nation’s history.
At a news briefing Friday in Dartmouth, near Halifax, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superintendent Darren Campbell said the shooting rampage started on the evening of Saturday, April 18, with an assault by the suspect — identified as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman — on his girlfriend.
Campbell said the woman managed to escape Wortman and survived by hiding overnight in the woods. He suggested her escape may have set off the events that followed, thought he is not discounting the possibility Wortman may have planned some of the murders that followed.
Campbell said police found 13 deceased victims in the rural community of Portapique, where the suspect lived part time.
There were several homes on fire, including the suspect's, when police arrived in the community. Campbell said the suspect had a pistol and several long-barreled guns. They found several dead in and outside homes.
Campbell said at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Wortman's girlfriend emerged from hiding in the woods, called 911 and gave police detailed information about the suspect, including that he was driving a mock police car and was in police uniform.
More than an hour later, police started receiving 911 calls more than 35 miles away. Campbell said the suspect killed three people he knew and set the house on fire.
After shooting and killing a number of other people over the next several hours, including a female police officer, the suspect was shot to death at 11:26 on April 19, about 13 hours after the attacks began.
Police have said Wortman carried out much of the attack disguised as a police officer in a vehicle marked to seem like a patrol car. Campbell said he had a few cars that police believe were former police vehicles. His home was destroyed by fire.
Residents who knew him say Wortman, who owned a denture practice in Dartmouth, lived part time in Portapique. His Atlantic Denture Clinic had been closed the past month because of the coronavirus pandemic.