The replica police car driven by a gunman in Nova Scotia who killed 22 people this month was obtained in the fall of 2019, and was one of four former police vehicles the suspect bought at auctions, the RCMP say.
Supt. Darren Campbell said the 51-year-old shooter then outfitted the vehicle with a light bar and decals that made it look almost identical to a genuine RCMP vehicle.
“The gunman was a collector of many things, including police memorabilia,” Campbell told a news conference Tuesday. “He was in possession of multiple pieces of police uniforms from a variety of agencies.”
Campbell said many witnesses have come forward to confirm the killer had a keen interest in the RCMP.
However, the senior Mountie said police were not aware of Wortman’s collections of used police cars and uniforms.
The gunman was wearing an authentic RCMP shirt and yellow-striped pants during the initial part of his rampage, said Campbell, the officer in charge of support services for Nova Scotia.
Campbell also provided a more detailed timeline of what happened on April 18 and April 19, which filled in some details that were missing from a timeline he provided Friday.
The killings started in Portapique, N.S., and continued for the next 13 hours across a swath of northern and central Nova Scotia.
Campbell said investigators have established the gunman drove out of Portapique, crossing a field to avoid the only road, within minutes of police arriving on the scene. He said the first police unit arrived at 10:26 p.m. and a resident saw what looked like a police vehicle crossing the field at around 10:35 p.m.
They have established that he drove from there to Debert, where he remained until the next morning.
Police have yet to speculate about a motive, though they have confirmed the killing started after the suspect assaulted his common-law partner in Portapique, N.S.
The woman survived by fleeing her home and hiding in the nearby woods, but 13 others died in a neighbourhood along Portapique Beach Road.
On Friday, Campbell said the assault may have been a “catalyst” to the murders that followed. But on Tuesday, he stressed that no one should be left with the impression that the woman “had anything to do with the gunman continuing on with his rampage.”
“The word catalyst was used to express that that was the first victim in a series of very horrific events,” Campbell said.
“I want to be very clear that violence against women is intolerable. It’s real. It exists. I don’t want to be misunderstood, that the victim had any blame in relation to what occurred on those awful days.”
In all, investigators are combing through 16 crime scenes over a route through northern and central Nova Scotia that stretches for 90 kilometres.
The Canadian Press