TORONTO (AP) — A gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia this month obtained a replica police car at an auction and outfitted it with a light bar and decals that made it look almost identical to a genuine RCMP vehicle before using it to go on a rampage, police said Tuesday.
Thirteen of the victims were shot to death and nine died in fires set by the suspect, said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.
RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell said Gabriel Wortman, 51, owned four used police cars obtained at auction and said he collected police uniforms. He said Wortman was related to retired RCMP officers and they’ve been interviewed. He said there is no indication that a former RCMP officer assisted Wortman or provided him with any police equipment.
Campbell reiterated the weekend rampage on April 18 and 19 started with an assault by Wortman on his girlfriend and ended with 22 people dead in communities across central and northern Nova Scotia. His girlfriend, who survived and is cooperating with police, hid overnight in the woods as the suspect shot his neighbors and set homes on fire. His girlfriend was a neighbor
Campbell said they don’t think Wortman was purposely targeting women.
“It appeared as if he was just targeting individuals that he knew or individuals for whatever reason. I don’t think we’ll ever understand,” he said. “It’s completely senseless.”
Campbell said a number of people had a disputes with the gunman.
“That included everyone from associates to business partners to family members,” he said.
Police found 13 deceased victims in the rural community of Portapique, a quiet community of 100 residents where the suspect lived part time. Police arrived and discovered bodies in the road and homes on fire. They believe Wortman left Portapique shortly after police arrived and spent the night in a nearby industrial area before waking up just before 6 a.m .on Sunday and continuing his rampage in other communities.
Police said they have been in contact with U.S. authorities about Wortman but declined to elaborate. They have said he used a handgun that was obtained in Canada and long guns that he obtained in the U.S.