Nova Scotia death toll reaches 19 in country with strict gun laws

Canadian police investigate the shooting rampage in Nova Scotia that left at least 19 dead. (Screen snip, YouTube, Global News)

UPDATED, 4/29–Authorities investigating the weekend murder spree in Nova Scotia are now reporting at 22 victims of the killer who took his carnage on a 12-hour drive before Canadian lawmen brought his rampage to an abrupt end at a gas station, in a country boasting some of the strictest gun control laws in the northern hemisphere.

Nine of his victims died in fires set at their homes, according to Reuters. Contrary to early reports, the gunman’s girlfriend was not among the victims. The rampage began when he assaulted her, but according to Reuters, she escaped and is now a “key witness,” according to Reuters.

According to The Hill, the Portapique killer was identified as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, describe in some published reports as a millionaire with an obsession for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that included collecting at least three decommissioned patrol cars, uniforms and even three firearms.

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Gun rights activists on this side of the border have quickly noted that this rampage was not prevented by Canada’s restrictive gun control laws. There is no Second Amendment in the country’s constitution, and gun laws in both nations have evolved along different paths.

Where there is no fundamental right-to-carry in Canada, down here there are more than 17 million citizens licensed to carry, and more are entering those ranks every month. In the U.S., when criminals open fire, they are often met with reciprocal gunfire, and occasionally it is fatal.

According to the Globe and Mail, Wortman apparently owned “two handguns and a shotgun similar to police-issue firearms.” Another report said he shot Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the famous constabulary. Reports indicate she rammed Wortman’s fake patrol car in an effort to stop him, and he subsequently shot her several times before apparently taking her sidearm and spare ammunition. The dead Mountie leaves two daughters and a husband, Canadian news agencies reported.

Global News reported the suspect had a minor police record. He was reportedly convicted and fined for minor assault in 2001.

The killer burned several structures and at least one vehicle. Authorities are still trying to determine a motive, but it is known his business had been shut down because of the COVID-19 response. Whether that had any part of driving Wortman to start killing people has yet to be determined.

His obsession with the RCMP reportedly began in high school, according to the New York Post. The newspaper said many of his victims were quarantined due to the virus scare. He allegedly drove around to knock on doors or pull over unsuspecting victims while his rampage unfolded.

It’s being reported as the worst mass slaughter in the nation’s history, and the nation’s gun laws didn’t prevent it.


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