Warrant Alleges Nova Scotia Mass Killer’s Prior Violence Against Family, Growing Paranoia

September 21, 2020 Updated: September 21, 2020

HALIFAX—Court documents released today describe the violence a Nova Scotia mass killer inflicted on his father years before his rampage as well as the gunman’s growing paranoia before the outburst of killings.

Fifty-one-year Gabriel Wortman took 22 lives on April 18-19 before police killed him at a service station in Enfield, N.S.

In documents that a media consortium, including The Canadian Press, went before a provincial court judge to obtain, Wortman’s spouse and cousin both describe how in 2016 he smashed his father’s head against the pool during a family vacation in the Caribbean.

The May 5 police application for a search warrant quotes a cousin, who was a retired RCMP officer, telling investigators that the killer was “a strange little guy” when they were growing up, and he’d come to believe Wortman was a career criminal capable of killing others.

The gunman’s spouse says in the documents her partner once wooed her with flowers, but he had grown increasingly paranoid and violent in recent years.

She recalled that he once told her he believed it would be easy to murder police officers, and on the night of the rampage he had “snapped” as he went from making plans and chatting with her to burning his property in Portapique, N.S.

The documents also contain a detailed account of how Wortman received $475,000 in $100 bills from a Brinks facility in Dartmouth, N.S., on March 30, as he grew increasingly anxious about COVID-19.

Investigators also describe a series of 2019 transactions the gunman made as he assembled the replica police vehicle he drove during the rampage.

The purchases included police cars, light bars, siren light controls, a dashboard camera, vinyl decals, and a push bar for the front of the car to create an almost identical replica.

Witnesses quoted in the documents cast fresh light on the assistance Wortman received in creating decals for the vehicle he drove during the rampage.

Peter Griffon provided a cautioned statement to police describing how he’d made the RCMP decals for Wortman’s car, without the knowledge of his employer, using a computer at the back of the shop to research RCMP emblems.

The owner of the graphics company is quoted in the documents saying he’d told Griffon not to make the decals, as “he should not be messing around with stuff like that.”

Griffon, who was on parole from prison, has since had his parole revoked as a result of the assistance he provided Wortman.

The 40-year-old man had been on parole, and living with his parents in Portapique, N.S., doing odd jobs for Wortman, when he completed the decal work.

A National Parole Board decision provided to The Canadian Press says Griffon was convicted of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking in 2017, and received parole a year later.

The board said in its decision, “the consequences of your [Griffon’s] most recent flawed decision-making contributed to a horrific end that touched every life in your province. Those decisions are inconsistent with being on parole.”

The newly released court documents also contain statements from a Canada Border Services Agency officer who provided a database analysis indicating Wortman had travelled to the United States frequently in the past decade and had imported car parts.

He crossed the Woodstock, N.B., border crossing 15 times in the past two years, according to the document.

By Michael Tutton