Portapique denturist gunman was obsessed with policing, RCMP memorabilia as Gabriel Wortman sought as recently as January to acquire a used police cruiser from a patient.
A Portapique, Nova Scotia denturist who this weekend was single handedly responsible for Canada’s worse mass shooting in history, shooting 18 dead — was obsessed with policing and law-enforcement memorabilia.
In the aftermath of this weekend’s shooting which saw Gabriel Wortman, 51, go on a 12 hour shooting spree over a 60 mile radius over the space of 12 hours, officials, neighbors, patients and friends described a man consumed with law and order. Or fittingly dis-order.
The mass shooting ended at an Enfield gas station, after the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) cornered the wanted man. He was declared dead at the scene following an outburst of shooting, late Sunday morning. It remained unclear whether police had taken the fugitive out or whether the wanted man’s death was self-inflicted.
Wortman appeared to slaughter most of his targets at random, but police sources told the Toronto Sun the first two victims were the gunman’s ex-wife and her new boyfriend. It remained unclear when the denturist’s former partner left him.
Since high school, Wortman, a ‘millionaire’ denturist with multiple Nova Scotia clinics, had shown an obsession for policing, buying law-enforcement memorabilia and boasting about his hobby of refurbishing old police cruisers.
During the search for Wortman, police distributed an image of a ‘mock’ RCMP cruiser, which police said the suspect had initially been driving while also wearing an RCMP uniform.
Chief Superintendent Chris Leather, criminal operations officer for Nova Scotia RCMP, said the impersonation demonstrated a level of planning.
‘The fact that this individual had a uniform and a police car at his disposal certainly speaks to it not being a random act,’ Leather said the Globe & Mail reported.
But Wortman’s fascination with police uniforms and police memorabilia hadn’t started that weekend. Forebodingly, it started all the way back in high school.
A regard of the 1986 Riverview High School Yearbook where Wortman graduated described him fascinated with the RCMP.
In a social media post, Sophie LeBlanc hints cited her mother, saying, ‘My mom went to high school with Gabriel Wortman. “Gabe’s future may include being an RCMP officer.” Weird.’
Gabriel Wortman, suspect in active shooter investigation, is now in custody. More information will be released when available. Thank you for your cooperation and support. #Colchester
— RCMP, Nova Scotia (@RCMPNS) April 19, 2020
#Colchester: Gabriel Wortman may be driving what appears to be an RCMP vehicle & may be wearing an RCMP uniform. There’s 1 difference btwn his car and our RCMP vehicles: the car #. The suspect’s car is 28B11, behind rear passenger window. If you see 28B11 call 911 immediately. pic.twitter.com/yyeOeBt8Ui
— RCMP, Nova Scotia (@RCMPNS) April 19, 2020
Nova Scotia gunman may have planned mass shooting as far back as January:
Records showed, Wortman, who ran his principal practice, Atlantic Denture Clinic in downtown Dartmouth, along with another clinic in nearby north-end Halifax, owning two large properties on Portapique Beach Road, where the killing started. The Portapique community is about 120 kilometers north of Halifax.
Nathan Staples, who lives outside the nearby community of Great Village, told the Globe & Mail that Wortman was obsessed with the police, and that his home in Portapique was a ‘shrine’ to the RCMP. A few months ago, Wortman had gone to Staples house, asking him whether he would sell his used police cruiser sitting in the front lawn.
‘He was one of those freaky guys, he was really into police memorabilia,’ Staples said.
It remained unclear whether Wortman had been aware even as a few months back then as he approached Staples, what he would intend to unleash this past weekend.
Billy Swiminer told the Globe & Mail that Gabe Wortman made having made his ‘million’ dollar fortune in dentures, who’d spoken ‘fondly’ of his hobby of buying old police cruisers at auction.
‘He showed me pics of a cruiser that he redid,’ Swiminer recalled of a January meeting with Wortman. ‘It’s exactly like an actual RCMP police car, and he has the uniform to go with it!’
Blaize Jones, a patient of the Portapique denturist gunman shared a similar memory in reply to a post sharing details that Wortman could possibly be driving what appeared to be an RCMP vehicle while wearing an RCMP uniform.
‘I do remember him saying he buys old police vehicles from the auction and fixes them up,’ Jones told the Globe & Mail following a February visit to Wortman’s clinic. ‘He had two when I went to meet him at his Halifax location to pick up my new dentures.’
Of note, neighbors disclosed Wortman struggling with alcohol use and that his business had been shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief Supt. Leather said Sunday he was not aware of Wortman being known to police, or having a history of violence. Clients also recalled Wortman seemingly having a jovial and amicable relationship with his common law partner.
‘They seemed to get along fine, bantering with each other like you would with your good friends. They seemed like very nice people together, very happy people.’ a recent patient told via Canada’s Guardian.
Police have taped off this denture clinic on Portland Street in #Dartmouth, believed to be owned by Gabriel Wortman, the suspect in a shooting investigation that began near #Portapique, #NS last night. @globalhalifax pic.twitter.com/9YLQozpLHm
— Ashley Field (@AshleyJVField) April 19, 2020