The RCMP are brushing off explosive evidence in the mass shooting case unsealed in court this week, in a lengthy statement released on Thursday.
On Monday, a Nova Scotia judge ordered that some of the redactions in search warrant documents related to the RCMP’s investigation into the events of April 18/19 be un-redacted. The ruling came in response to an application to the court by a media coalition that includes the Halifax Examiner.
As the Halifax Examiner reported on Monday:
The new information comes primarily from people who spoke with police on April 19. One person spoke with Halifax police; the other spoke with RCMP. The names of those witnesses remain redacted.
The most stunning revelation comes from one person who spoke with Halifax police. That person told police that the murderer, who the Examiner refers to as GW, “builds fires and burns bodies, is a sexual predator, and supplies drugs in Portapique and Economy, Nova Scotia.”
Moreover, the person said that GW “had smuggled guns and drugs from Maine for years and had a stockpile of guns” and GW “had a bag of 10,000 oxy-contin and 15,000 dilaudid from a reservation in New Brunswick.”
Another person who spoke with the RCMP gave information about GW’s properties, relating that it was known that there were secret hiding places at the properties. The person said GW had shown another person (whose name remains redacted) a “hidden compartment in the garage” [presumably in Portapique], which was under a workbench, and GW kept a “high powered rifle” in the space.
The person who spoke with the RCMP said that there was a “false wall” at GW’s Dartmouth residence. That information was echoed by another person who spoke with Halifax police on April 19, who said that “there is a secret room in the clinic in Dartmouth.”
Other information that is newly un-redacted confirms information that was widely known before.
One detail involves the killing of GW in Enfield. Although the document remains semi-redacted, it now reads “a peace officer and member of the RCMP was also at the gas pump and recognized [GW]…[GW]… died” (ellipses in original).
The documents now confirm that GW had an uncle who was an RCMP officer.
You can read the documents here.
Statement denies most details, confirms others
The RCMP’s unattributed 1,600-word statement says that evidence came from just one of hundreds of people interviewed in the case.
“No other persons out of the close to 700 interviewed, including those closest to the gunman, have provided similar information that proves the gunman was an illegal drug smuggler and/or drug trafficker. Therefore, we cannot corroborate this information,” the statement says.
The statement also says the police have found no evidence to suggest GW has illegally disposed of bodies.
“Forensic Identification Specialists have conducted a thorough examination of the gunman’s residence and surrounding properties. This examination included the sifting of surface debris as well as sub-surface excavation and sub-surface examinations using ground penetrating radar equipment. The searches and forensic examinations did not uncover any evidence to support the theory that the gunman had committed previous murders or the disposal of human remains on his property,” the statement says.
RCMP say GW smuggled cigarettes and alcohol in university
The statement says the RCMP have found no evidence the killer was involved in any kind of organized crime group. They say he used to illegally move cigarettes and liquor.
“Witnesses have described that while attending university in New Brunswick in the mid to late 1980s, the gunman was involved in the smuggling and illegal sale of cigarettes and liquor as a means to make money during that period of his life. There has been no further information to suggest that the gunman remained involved in the smuggling or illegal sale of cigarettes or liquor after that time or in the recent past.”
But they say he was still “involved in procuring firearms illegally.”
“In terms of the firearms, at this time we can confirm that this took place predominantly in the United States and that one firearm had been illegally obtained in Canada. Any transactions of firearms on the part of the gunman or anyone else remains part of the active investigation. As such, no further details in relation to this can or will be provided at this time.”
As for the gunman’s activities in the U.S., the RCMP say he had relationships with people in Maine based on “friendship and mutual interests.”
“Investigators have confirmed that the gunman did communicate with these individuals frequently and visited them on a frequent basis. The full nature and extent of those relationships remain under investigation and as such, no additional information will be provided at this time.”
There are some details unsealed this week the RCMP are say are true.
The witness who spoke to the RCMP said GW had secret rooms and compartments in his properties in Portapique and Dartmouth, and the RCMP confirm they found evidence of those compartments, which they believe were used for guns.
“Witnesses described hiding areas constructed at both the gunman’s Portapique and Dartmouth residences. The Portapique residence was destroyed by fire so investigators did not have the opportunity to examine and confirm the existence of those spaces,” the statement says.
“Investigators have confirmed that the gunman had constructed areas in his Dartmouth residence which appear to be designed to hide items. Information also suggested that the purpose for constructing these spaces was to hide firearms. Given that, investigators have no reason to doubt the existence of hiding spaces constructed at both the Dartmouth and Portapique residences and believe that the purpose of constructing these spaces was for hiding illegal firearms.”
No explanation of Brink’s withdrawal
In a June 17 story, Maclean’s reported GW withdrew $475,000 in cash 19 days before the mass shooting.
[GW] withdrew the money from the Brink’s office at 19 Ilsley Ave. in Dartmouth, N.S., on March 30, according to a source close to the police investigation, who provided Maclean’s with two videos.
The first video shows [GW] driving what appears to be one of his decommissioned white police cruisers into the fenced yard of the security facility. He is wearing a baseball cap and leather jacket. In the second video, taken inside, he conducts a transaction, then walks back to his cruiser with a carryall apparently filled with 100-dollar bills, according to the source, and stashes the bag in the trunk of his vehicle.
The RCMP have an explanation for the large sum, claiming to have emails backing it up — but still aren’t explaining why he withdrew it that way.
“These email communications from the gunman to financial institutions and others detail his intent to liquidate personal assets and convert those into cash,” the statement says. “The purpose of those conversions and withdrawals was based on the gunman’s belief that his assets were safer in his possession as it related to the current pandemic. A significant amount of currency has been recovered from the gunman’s burned out property in Portapique, which supports the pre-April 18 withdrawal of funds previously disclosed. A forensic audit of the gunman’s accounts remains underway and no further details can be disclosed until this task has been completed.”
Maclean’s reported in another story, on June 19, that the withdrawal via Brink’s was irregular, and proved he had some special relationship with the Mounties — one they’ve repeatedly denied.
In closing, the statement says “it is important to ensure that the families who lost loved ones as well as the survivors receive timely updates based on facts known by those directly involved in the investigation, not assumptions made by any other individual who does not have all of the information available to them.”
The last time the RCMP provided an update publicly was June.
Following outrage from the families of the victims, and Nova Scotians in general, the federal and provincial governments announced a joint public inquiry into the shootings on Tuesday.
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