A court document obtained by the Halifax Examiner provides new information about the mass murder spree across Nova Scotia on April 18 and 19.
The document is an “Information to Obtain” (ITO), which was delivered to a justice of the peace as an application for a search warrant related to the police investigation into the murders. The ITO was authored by RCMP Sergeant Angela Hawryluk, and approved by Justice of the Peace Allison Rose.
The ITO is 40 pages long, and is highly redacted; it includes summaries of police interviews with eyewitnesses to various parts of the April 18/19 murder spree, and interviews with people who knew the gunman, who we’re calling “GW.” (See “Lots of people knew about the mass murderer’s destructive behaviour, and did nothing.”)
The ITO discusses GW’s properties — a denturist office on Portland Street in Dartmouth, with an apartment above it, and three properties in Portapique, which are described as a cottage, a garage with an apartment, and a warehouse.
Integral to the narrative of the ITO is a woman who is described variously as GW’s ex-wife, common law spouse, and girlfriend. For the purposes of this article, we will call her his girlfriend.
What happened in Portapique
The Halifax Examiner has previously reported on GW’s murder spree (see here, here, and here), but the ITO fills in some of the unknowns in that narrative, especially in terms of events in Portapique on Saturday night, April 18.
According to Hawryluk, on that Saturday night, GW and his girlfriend were at the “warehouse,” at 136 Orchard Beach Drive in Portapique. “During the evening, an argument ensued” between the two, which resulted in the girlfriend “being assaulted.”
What happened next is redacted in the ITO, but soon after, the girlfriend watched GW “pour accelerants in the cottage (200 Portapique Beach Road) and the warehouse and observed that there were several firearms on the front seat of an out of commission police car.” The girlfriend “managed to escape” and “ran into the woods,” where she hid until morning.
At 10:05pm, “multiple 911 calls were received with respect to shots being fired and buildings on fire in the vicinity of Orchard Beach Road, Portapique.”
Meanwhile, the ITO states, two people saw “what appeared to be a large structure fire” on Orchard Beach Road. They called 911 and then got in their car and drove towards the fire. They saw a small blue house on fire, “and that there was a ‘police car’ parked in the driveway, not far from the fire.”
The pair believed the ‘police car’ was simply waiting for firefighters to arrive. They drove past it and came upon GW’s “whole garage [which] was engulfed by fire.” They called 911 again, and the call taker said they were aware of the fire. So the pair turned around and then came back up the road, passing the blue house again. “They noticed the whole kitchen of the house was on fire and they could see that the fire was spreading super quick.”
The “‘police car’ came up from behind them and then pulled up along side of them.” The man who was driving assumed there was a cop in the ‘police car’ who wanted to talk to him, so he rolled down his window. “But before he could say anything, he pulled a gun out and started shooting at them through his passenger side window into [their] driver side window; his vehicle was about 2 feet away from [their] vehicle.”
The man “ducked” and sped away, up Orchard Beach Road to Portapique Beach Road, and was met by two actual police cars coming to respond to the 911 calls. While sitting in his car waiting for an ambulance to arrive “he felt something in his coat and pulled out a bullet. It was under his shirt. He put it in his pant pocket but pulled it out to show someone and is not sure what happened to it after that.”
In the ITO, police describe coming upon a horrific scene. They “located a residence where there was a deceased male [redacted] and a deceased female [redacted]. At the house next door, there was a deceased female [redacted].”
The narrative of the ITO is a bit disjointed as it quotes different officers giving independent accounts, but these three victims appear to be Greg Blair, Jamie Blair, and Lisa McCully.
“Clint Ellison reported that he was hiding in the woods because when he was walking on the beach with his brother, Cory Ellison who was shot [redacted] and killed.”
There were 13 victims in Portapique.
Heidi Stevenson and Joey Webber
The ITO does not give much new information about GW’s movements through Hunter Road, Wentworth, and the Debert area, but moves on to Shubenacadie.
It relates that Cst. Chad Morrison was shot by GW while Morrison was “near Exit 9 on Highway 2, near the EHS station.” The number of times Morrison was shot is redacted.
“At Highway 224, near Milford Street,” the ITO continues, GW “was involved in some sort of accident with the police car being operated by Cst. Heidi Stevenson … as both vehicles had front end damage.”
The ITO summarizes the statement of one person of a couple who appear to live nearby and witnessed what happened next.
The couple had heard a popping sound, but it was windy that day so thought the siding on the house was coming loose. But then they realized it was gunfire. “The bald headed guy with a green fluorescent vest was going back and forth doing the shooting.”
The person giving the statement said that they “thought the bald headed guy was a Mountie because you could see the shirt and you could see the white and green vest. But it seemed funny to [redacted] that the bald man would be shooting at a Mountie.” The bald man was shooting at Stevenson’s car, and so one of the witnesses called 911.
Next, “a gray SUV came up the ramp and stopped. The man in the SUV saw the two Mountie cars smashed together and it looked like he had gotten out to help them.”
The next four paragraphs in the ITO are redacted, except for the man’s name: Joey Webber, who was also killed.
“The bald man was doing a lot of gun fire,” the witness said.
“Then the bald man opened up the trunk of the car [he] had been driving and a couple of seconds later you could see smoke coming from the trunk. The bald man set the car he had been driving on fire and then jumped in the grey SUV and left.”
The witness assumed the bald man had used gas or some other accelerant to set fire to the car as flames came in just seconds.
A woman driving a red car then pulled up, saw the destruction and backed down the ramp to helpfully stop other people from driving onto the scene.
“The phony Mountie car was fully engulfed then the next thing both cars [i.e, also Stevenson’s] were on fire,” said the witness.
The ITO provides little unredacted information about the murder of Gina Goulet, except to note that GW took her grey Mazda.
Big Stop and firearms
The ITO has only one paragraph dedicated to the killing of GW at the Big Stop by an RCMP officer, and that paragraph is entirely redacted. This will be one of several items the Examiner will press to be unredacted.
The ITO goes on to explain what weapons were found in the grey Mazda, which were processed by Sgt. Larry Peyton. The weapons were:
• a “rifle, [redacted] caliber, semi automatic. The selector switch was set to ‘FIRE’. There was not a round in the chamber with (sic) the action was opened [redacted]. A shoulder strap was found for the firearm. Sgt Peyton was able to source this firearm [redacted].
• a “rifle, [redacted] calibre, semi automatic. [redacted] There was a round in the chamber. [redacted] Sgt. Peyton was able to source this firearm [redacted] [GW] as he did not possess a firearms license and has never had a firearms license.”
• a “pistol, [redacted] There was a round in the chamber. There were spent shell casings for this gun located in the vehicle. [redacted] Sgt. Peyton was able to source this firearm [redacted].”
• a “pistol [redacted] There was an empty magazine seated in the firearm and the hammer was cocked, and safety was off. There was a round in the chamber. [redacted] Sgt. Peyton was able to source this firearm. [redacted]”
• a “pistol, Smith & Wesson, 9 mm calibre. This firearm is RCMP issue and was the firearm assigned to Cst. Heidi Stevenson (deceased RCMP officer).”
GW’s girlfriend also made a statement that is included in the ITO, but it is heavily redacted.
However, one part that isn’t redacted stands out:
GW “has [redacted] in the RCMP and had one of his uniforms but it didn’t fit [GW].” This appears to refer to GW’s uncle, who is a retired RCMP officer. This statement from GW’s girlfriend seems to align with the statement given by Interviewee #5 in the accompanying article on the ITO. If this is true, it contradicts a public statement from the RCMP to the contrary.
The ITO continues, summarizing the girlfriend’s statement:
GW “had a fluorescent yellow jacket and he would put it in the front seat to make it look like he was a police officer; [the girlfriend] said that [GW] wasn’t a police officer wannabe and didn’t like police officers and thought he was better than them.”
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