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Warning signs of N.S. mass shooter's paranoia, guns, prior abuse noted in warrant

Last Updated May 19, 2020 at 1:42 pm CDT

A couple place a flag at a memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Disturbing details are coming to light about the gunman in last month's mass killing in Nova Scotia

Information used by police to obtain a search warrant details warning signals of paranoia, unusual purchases

22 people were killed in the rampage

HALIFAX — Information used by police to obtain a search warrant details warning signals of paranoid behaviour and unusual purchases of gasoline by the gunman who burned homes and killed 22 people in Nova Scotia last month.

One person described Gabriel Wortman as having guns at his denturist clinic in Dartmouth and in a warehouse in Portapique and as being “paranoid” about the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he’d experienced a mental breakdown.

The person, whose name is blanked out and is described as having worked with Wortman, says the killer had talked about all types of guns, assault rifles, and handguns.

Another source in the document made public Tuesday told the RCMP Wortman had purchased about $800 worth of gasoline prior to the murders and had owned police clothing for over a year before the shootings.

Police have said that during the gunman’s April 18 and 19 rampage through five communities he drove a replica police vehicle, was dressed in an RCMP uniform, shot victims with semi-automatic weapons for which he didn’t have a licence and burned homes with gasoline.

The former colleague also told police officers Wortman would dress up as a police officer and would role play, though specific dates were not included in the warrant.

The search warrant information has blacked out the calibre and model of the gunman’s firearms, but it includes evidence that he never had a licence to purchase firearms.

It also says the first RCMP officers to arrive on the scene on April 18 were told by a wounded victim that the gunman owned a police patrol car with a fake number on it.

The warrant was sought on April 24 to search various buildings owned by Wortman, noting they had been burned and police would be seeking the assistance of an anthropologist to search the sites.

Large portions, including the identities of witnesses, have been redacted from the search warrant document, obtained after a media consortium went to court to have it unsealed.