Nova Scotia mass killer shot in the head as police open fire at gas station

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HALIFAX — A public inquest heard evidence Wednesday that the Nova Scotia gunman who murdered 22 people in 2020 shot himself in the head seconds after two officers shot him.

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Dr Matthew Bowes, the province’s chief medical examiner, testified that the best explanation for the fragments found in the killer’s head is that he fired a bullet in his own temple, while saying he might have survived the injury for “a few minutes” at the Enfield. , NS, scene.

“I think that’s what makes the most sense,” Bowes replied, when asked by an attorney for the victims’ families if the injury was self-inflicted.

However, Bowes concluded that the cause of death was gunshot wounds inflicted by RCMP officers who opened fire shortly after 11:25 a.m. on April 19, 2020, after running into the shooter at a gas station.

The medical examiner said the hail of the officer’s shots caused damage to the killer’s major organs that “would normally kill a person in seconds”.

The death occurred after Const. Craig Hubley, a dog handler, and Const. Ben MacLeod, an Emergency Response Team officer, stopped at the gas station north of Halifax to refuel at a pump next to where the killer had stopped.

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RCMP members were unaware that the killer had moved from a silver SUV belonging to one of his victims, Joey Webber, and was now driving a Mazda belonging to Gina Goulet, whom the killer had murdered about 25 minutes earlier.

Additionally, the shooter, Gabriel Wortman, was now wearing just a t-shirt instead of the police shirt and fluorescent vest he was seen in earlier.

However, as Hubley exited his vehicle, he noticed a large bruise and bleeding from the head of the man in the car next to him. Commission lawyer Anna Mancini said the officer found it odd that the man did nothing to treat the injury.

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Additionally, she said Hubley had studied photographs of the assailant, which is why he recognized him as he came out and looked between the pumps. “It’s him!” he shouted to his partner.

“At this point he saw the assailant raise a gun…and Const. Hubley unloaded his gun and finally took cover,” Mancini said.

MacLeod moved to the front of the officers’ SUV when Hubley recognized the assailant and “he saw the individual raising a firearm, and at that time he discharged his firearm”, Mancini said.

The inquest listened to recordings of frantic radio transmissions from the two officers, which began with MacLeod shouting: “Enfield Big Stop, Enfield Big Stop…. Your cover. To safeguard! To safeguard! Your cover. Don’t rush here now…. I don’t know this guy. He then shouts an obscenity and rapid gunfire can be heard.

There is no firm conclusion from the summary released Wednesday about exactly when Wortman took his own life.

Forensic evidence released by the inquest shows the gun in the killer’s hand belonged to Const. Heidi Stevenson, whom the attacker murdered after driving in his patrol car that morning.

The inquest summary says it’s plausible that a second minor wound to the killer’s head – which created the bleeding spotted by Hubley – came from a bullet fired at the killer by Stevenson as they exchanged words. shots.

Minutes earlier, around 11:16 a.m., another team of officers were also with the killer at another gas station near Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, but the emergency response officer who was standing near Wortman did not recognize him.

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const. Brent Kelly, the officer in front of the killer, said he appeared to have the same difficulty as his RCMP colleague in operating gas pumps.

“He was just like… literally doing the exact same thing (Const.) Andrew Ryan was doing. Trying to run a pump,” Kelly recalled in his interview with the commission.

“I noticed there was like a slight bump over his (killer’s) left eye…I really didn’t pay too much attention to a guy with a minnow,” he added.

The atmosphere at the time was tense and somewhat chaotic, with officers attempting to halt what had by then been nearly 13 hours of killing and destruction in several communities.

The summary briefly discusses an incident involving RCMP officers Terry Brown and Dave Melanson, who earlier in the day shot an emergency measures officer – mistaking him for the perpetrator – at a fire station, then pursued the killer.

According to the inquest summary, the two men passed through a police checkpoint and saw a man standing behind a white van, dressed in camouflage and holding a gun. The document says they were preparing to “challenge the man”, when they were told on the radio that he was a Halifax policeman.

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