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N.S. police received warnings in 2011 about man who would become mass killer

Last Updated May 29, 2020 at 11:54 am EDT

A worker with the medical examiner's office removes the body of Gabriel Wortman from a gas bar in Enfield, N.S. on Sunday, April 19, 2020. A newly released document confirms that in May 2011 police were told that Wortman — the Nova Scotia man who would later slaughter 22 people in a shooting rampage — wanted to "kill a cop" and was feeling mentally unstable. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX — A newly released document reveals that in May 2011 police were told Gabriel Wortman — the Nova Scotia man who would later kill 22 people in a shooting rampage — wanted to “kill a cop” and was feeling mentally unstable.

The officer safety bulletin, submitted by the Truro Police Service, does not include names in the version released to media, but police Chief David MacNeil confirmed the subject in question was Wortman.

The brief report says a Truro police officer had received information from a source indicating Wortman was upset about a police investigation into a break-and-enter and had “stated he wants to kill a cop.”

The officer goes on to say he was told Wortman owned a handgun and was having some “mental issues” that left him feeling stressed and “a little squirrelly.”

The document, first obtained by the CBC, says Wortman was investigated for uttering death threats aimed at his parents in June 2010, which led police to conclude he may be in possession of several rifles.

MacNeil says the patrol officer who prepared the bulletin submitted it to the Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia for analysis and distribution to other police forces.

“Since neither of the addresses mentioned in this information were in the jurisdiction of the Truro Police Service, we were not obligated to follow up on this information, as this would fall to the police agencies of jurisdiction,” MacNeil said in an email.

“We can’t comment on what those agencies may have done or didn’t do with this information.”

The police chief says this kind of bulletin would normally be sent to all municipal police agencies and the RCMP.

The Mounties have confirmed the gunman — disguised as a Mountie and driving a replica RCMP vehicle — was armed with several semi-automatic handguns and two semi-automatic rifles when he killed 13 people in Portapique, N.S., on April 18 and another nine people the following day in several other communities.

His victims included an RCMP officer, two nurses, two correctional officers, a family of three, a teacher and some of his neighbours in Portapique.

After Wortman spent the better part of 13 hours terrorizing people in northern and central Nova Scotia, a Mountie fatally shot the 51-year-old denturist at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., about 90 kilometres south of Portapique on the morning of April 19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press