Long before he went on a murder spree across Nova Scotia, killing 22 people, lots of people knew about the gunman, who we’re calling GW.
They knew GW was disturbed, and called him a “psychopath,” a “sociopath,” “paranoid.”
They knew he beat women.
They knew he collected an alarming number of weapons, some of them semi-automatic assault-style rifles, and that those weapons and caches of ammunition were stored at his houses in Dartmouth and Portapique.
They knew he had talked about how to dispose of human bodies without leaving behind evidence.
They knew he collected old police cars and restored them to look like real police cars, improperly placing look-alike police decals on them.
And as the murderous spree approached, they knew that GW had purchased propane tanks and an enormous amount of gasoline
And yet, so far as can be determined, those people took no meaningful action to intervene, to warn police or anyone else.
This is the takeaway from a court document obtained by the Halifax Examiner related to the search of GW’s properties. The document is an “Information to Obtain” (ITO), which is delivered to a justice of the peace as an application for a search warrant.
This particular 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. The ITO includes summaries of police interviews with eyewitnesses to various parts of the April 18/19 murder spree, and interviews with people who knew GW. All of the interviews were conducted on April 19 or 20.
The interviews with eyewitnesses are heart-wrenching, and provide new details about what occurred that night and the next day. Those interviews will be the subject of another article.
The latter set of interviews — those with people who knew GW — shed light on warning signs that GW was violent and could become even more violent.
We summarize those interviews below. The names of the interviewees are redacted in the copy of the ITO obtained by the Examiner.
Among other things, the interviewees discuss GW’s properties — a denturist office on Portland Street in Dartmouth, with an apartment above it, and three properties in Portapique, which are variously described as a cottage, a garage with an apartment, and a warehouse.
This person was interviewed on Sunday, April 19 by Halifax Regional Police Detective Constable Susan Lynch and Constable D. Penfold. It appears by the context of the interview that this person worked “with” GW at his denturist clinic in Dartmouth.
According to the ITO, the colleague “said that [GW] had been disturbed and that he was severely abused as a young boy” and that GW “was very smart, cheated, was a psychopath and abused [redacted].” Presumably, that redaction refers to a person, as there would be no reason to redact the name of a drug.
The ITO continues, relating the interview with the colleague:
“[GW] had a mental break down and talked about the deed for property in Portapique [redacted].”
“[redacted] said there were guns at the warehouse and the dental office;
“[GW] was paranoid about the pandemic [long redaction];
“[GW] talked about all types of guns, assault rifles, hand guns, but [redacted] did not know where or how he got them.”
The colleague also told the police officers that GW “collected police cars and bought the decals for the cars and was going to use the cars for downed officers; [GW] would dress up as a police officer and would role play. [GW] had a whole uniform, with a hat, jacket, and has a vest.”
Someone who knew GW’s girlfriend spoke with Halifax Regional Police Detective Constable Jennifer Lake at the Portland Street property on Sunday, April 19.
That person said that on Saturday at about 6pm, they had received a text from GW’s girlfriend, which contained a photo of GW and the girlfriend together in the warehouse in Portapique.
Interviewee #2 described GW to Cst. Lake as “a sociopath, abusive [redacted].” They said GW was a funeral director and embalmer. They described GW’s property in Portapique, and explained that it included a garage where GW “collected motorcycles and police cars and bought them from auctions” and “talked about having a police car that had RCMP decals on it.”
The person told Cst. Lake that GW had “recently purchased a bunch of gas.”
At one point, GW had shown this person a gun which made them “uncomfortable”; they “described it as being like a machine gun. This gun was kept by the fire place in the warehouse.”
Another person was interviewed by RCMP Constables Holly Murphy and Denis Chartrand on Sunday, April 19.
This person told the constables that GW “has assaulted [redacted] in the past.” It seems likely the redacted name is that of GW’s girlfriend.
They also sad that GW was “very intelligent but paranoid,” and “was wealthy.”
Interviewee #3 additionally knew that GW had cars that were modified to look like police cars, and that he had a police uniform.
Eight years ago, said the interviewee, GW had shown them “where he kept a high power rifle.” The location is redacted from the ITO. However, another time, “a few years ago,” GW showed them something — presumably a weapon — that was kept in a shed at the Dartmouth property.
A fourth person spoke with Halifax Regional Police Constable Steven Wagg on Sunday, April 19.
This person told Cst. Wagg that “Years ago [GW] was abusive [redacted].”
Interviewee #4 said they had been to the property in Portapique and that “there was lots of security” and GW “had numerous police cars and you wouldn’t know the difference.” The person also said that “about a year ago” GW had a police uniform and a badge.”
“A few weeks ago, [GW] bought $800 worth of gas and bought propane bottles,” the interviewee told Cst. Wagg.
A person who described themself as “friends with” GW was interviewed by RCMP Sgt. Brian Fitzpatrick on Sunday, April 19.
The friend described GW as “a millionaire and very smart.”
The friend said that GW “had [redacted] who is a retired RCMP member and this [redacted] gave [GW] parts of his uniform.” (We know that GW’s uncle is a retired RCMP police officer.)
If this is true, it contradicts a public statement from the RCMP to the contrary.
In a paragraph that is highly redacted, the ITO explains that the friend’s cell phone was seized and is in storage — it is presumably the subject of another search warrant application.
A person who first met GW in 2011 spoke with Halifax Regional Police Detective Constable Anthony McGrath on Sunday, April 19.
This section of the ITO is extensively redacted.
Interviewee #6 described the Dartmouth and Portapique properties, and said that GW had a “rifle” and “a stockpile of guns.” They said GW had “an HRP uniform” — that is, a Halifax Regional Police uniform.
The person said that GW “would speak of getting rid of bodies, burning and chemicals…. would tell… different ways of getting rid of a body and had lime and muriatic acid on the property. The barrels for these would be underneath the deck.”
This person additionally called GW “controlling and paranoid.”
Interviewees #7 and #8
Interviewees #7 and #8 are employees of a business whose name is redacted in the ITO. Both were interviewed on Monday, April 20; Interviewee #7 was interviewed by RCMP Cpl. Dave Lane, and Interviewee #8 was interviewed by RCMP Sgt. Derrick Blanche.
Interviewee #7 said that GW had come to the business to purchase “a couple of sheets of reflective and sapphire blue vinyl.” While there, GW told Interviewee #7 that “he had a police cruiser that he had bought at an auction and wanted to do it up like a police car.”
Interviewee #7 told GW “that he would get in trouble for driving the car (with decals)” and that GW said “that he knew and that it would be illegal.”
The next paragraph in the ITO is redacted. But the document returns to the narrative, and Interviewee #7 said GW came back to the business on October 18, 2019 to buy “7 yards of carbon wrap film and 1 yard of Red Dragon.” Interviewee #7 knew this because they looked up the purchase on the business computer, and saw that someone — presumably Interviewee #8 — had completed the sale.
The ITO’s summary of the interview with Interviewee #8 is too redacted to make any sense.
Would it have made any difference had any of the interviewees contacted police with concerns about GW’s behaviour?
One person — Boe, who spoke with the Halifax Examiner last week — said that she did call the RCMP to tell them that GW had beaten his girlfriend, and that he had illegal weapons. Boe says the RCMP took no action, as since none of the three men who witnessed the beating would speak, the girlfriend herself would have to make a complaint. And, presumably, there was not enough evidence to apply for a search warrant for the alleged illegal guns.
But what’s disturbing about the eight interviews above is that, at least as summarized by the ITO, none of the eight took any meaningful action. None of them says they contacted police and nothing happened. None seems to have attempted to intervene on behalf of the woman they knew to have been beaten. None appears to have done anything at all to address what should have been seen as alarming behaviour.
And now, 22 people are dead.
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