Portapique shooting: Gabriel Wortman Nova Scotia gunman confirmed dead after shooting spree leaves sixteen dead as police seek motive of denturist.
Gabriel Wortman was confirmed dead on Sunday following an overnight manhunt for the gunman, who went on a killing spree in Portapique on Saturday night according to the RCMP.
Describing the scene as ‘chaotic,’ officials in a press release said 18 people were killed across multiple locations across Nova Scotia.
Gunfire first rang out in the small town of Portapique, Saturday night and ended 12 hours later, 60 miles away at a gas station in Enfield.
As per the nytimes: ‘Several bodies were found inside and outside one home in the small, rural town of Portapique, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of Halifax — what police called the first scene. Bodies were also found at other locations. The assault began late Saturday, and authorities believe the shooter may have targeted his first victims but then began attacking randomly.’
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.
Among the dead was Royal Canadian Mounted Police member Const. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year police veteran and a mother-of-two.
Two to three others were injured and while others were being treated at a local hospital, including another Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer the national post reports. Further victims are listed in the article below following updated social media posts.
Portapique gunman disguised as RCMP policeman:
Wortman’s deadly rampage lasted 12 hours as he went around Nova Scotia in a police uniform killing people, with his victims appearing to be random, police said. They also confirmed at one point the man driving what appeared to be a mock RCMP police vehicle.
Police did not clarify the nature of Wortman’s death, but photos showed (see below) several armed officers surrounding a car at a gas station and a body was later taken from the scene.
So far, police have not released a motive or explained how Wortman was able to obtain the police uniform or car that resembled a police vehicle. That said, reports told of the denturist as early as January seeking to acquire a police land cruiser from one of his patients.
Gabriel Wortman operated and ran Atlantic Denture Clinic:
Local media reported Gabriel Wortman listed as a denturist in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, according to the Denturist Society of Nova Scotia website.
A suspect photo issued by the RCMP matches video footage of a man being interviewed about dentures by CTV Atlantic in 2014. The suspect also posted video (since removed) on YouTube discussing his practice and services. (see above).
In the clip, Wortman says he runs a local denture company by the name of Atlantic Denture Clinic, followed by a clip from a CTV news story about how he made dentures for a woman who lost all of her teeth.
‘My heart went out to her,’ Wortman said at the time. ‘There’s so many ways for people to get dentures, but it seems like the people who really need them are the people who are getting left behind.’
At the press conference on Sunday, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman confirmed the deaths of the civilians and officer Stevenson, saying: ‘Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served. Earlier this afternoon I met with Heidi’s family and there are no words to describe their pain.
‘Two children have lost their mother. And a husband has lost his wife. Parents have lost their daughter and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague.’
This means Wortman travelled almost 100 km across the province before his arrest, and was less than 30 minutes away from reaching Halifax. pic.twitter.com/6Al8mwX4bf
— Victoria Walton (@victorialwalton) April 19, 2020
My mom went to high school with Gabriel Wortman. “Gabe’s future may include being an RCMP officer.” Weird. pic.twitter.com/MBJhTZ0lAu
— Sophie LeBlanc (@sophieleblanc19) April 19, 2020
Portapique shooting victims:
Few details were available as to the identity of the victims, with scant social media postings, confirming casualties.
Family members paid tribute to Corrie Ellison on Sunday afternoon, with his cousin Juliene Henderson posting on social media: ‘Tragic and surreal..RIP to my cousin Corrie and to the several others killed. Just texted him this AM to see if his Dad was ok (his Dad lived in portique) ..not knowing he was out there and already killed.’
A social media posting by Jenny Kiestead identified her sister, Lisa McCully, a Portapique resident as one of the victims.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil called the shootings ‘one of the most senseless acts of violence’ in the province’s history.
He added: ‘To the families of the victims and those that are feeling afraid, my heart goes out to you.’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the shooting on Sunday morning during his daily briefing, saying: ‘My heart goes out to everyone affected in what is a terrible situation.
‘I want to thank the police for their hard work and people for cooperating with authorities.’
#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
Here is an image from someone who has been verified to be on the scene, which shows armed #RCMP officers advancing on the scene of a burning car used by Gabriel Wortman during the tragic #NovaScotia shooting Sunday morning. pic.twitter.com/bsxXHUJPSw
— Corné Van Hoepen (@Cvanhoepen) April 19, 2020
Reaction to mass shooting that has unnerved Canada:
On Saturday night, Cpl. Lisa Croteau, public information officer with the RCMP Nova Scotia, said police received a call about ‘a person with firearms’ around 10.30pm and it later ‘evolved into an active shooting investigation.’
Wortman, police warned, may have ben using a vehicle that resembled a RCMP cruise while wearing a RCMP uniform. Authorities said there was only one striking difference in that the shooter’s vehicle bore the number 28B11 in blue letters near a back window.
Upon the suspect being spotted in Brookfield, police said Wortman was now driving a Chevrolet tracker.
Tom Taggart, a lawmaker in the municipality of Colchester, said the quiet community has been shaken.
‘This is just an absolutely wonderful, peaceful quiet community and the idea that this could happen in our community is unbelievable,’ Taggart said.
‘People live here because of the peace and quiet and it’s just an absolute tragedy,’ he said.
Taggart said he didn’t know Wortman well, but spoke to him a few times when he telephoned about municipal issues.
Taggart described knowing Wortman’s ‘lovely big home’ on Portapique Beach Road.
He said Wortman owned a few other properties in the community and was believed to divide his time between Portapique and his business in Dartmouth.
He described Portapique as ‘cottage country,’ with about 100 year-round residents and 250 in the summer.
‘You just don’t even dream that this is going to happen,’ he said. ‘I can’t fathom it.’
This weekend’s shooting, with 16 fatalities, not including the gunman’s death marked Canada’s deadliest attack in the country’s history.
In August 2018, a man in the neighboring province of New Brunswick shot dead four people, including two police officers, in an apartment complex.
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