On Sunday morning, April 19, the Halifax Regional Police (HRP) was alerted that a gunman (GW) was heading towards the Halifax Regional Municipality in a look-alike RCMP cruiser, and was heavily armed.
Despite those warnings, HRP denied a request from its Emergency Response Team that additional members be called in.
Later in the morning, HRP issued orders to its members “not to shoot” the gunman, but to prevent him from entering HRM.
Those are the allegations made by a person who purports to be a member of the HRP. That person contacted the Halifax Examiner out of what they said was frustration with the HRP response as the mass shooting was unfolding. We have not been able to verify the identity of the informant, but the information the informant relayed suggests that that person is credible. For instance, the person provided a HRP case # that appears to be valid. And other information provided appears consistent with HRP procedures.
We provided some of the details the informant provided to us to HRP police chief Dan Kinsella and gave him a detailed list of questions and otherwise asked for comment. The complete response back came from HRP public information officer Cst. John McLeod:
As this is an ongoing investigation led by the RCMP it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the specifics of it. Please contact them directly for information in relation to this incident.
HRP did not say the information provided to the Examiner was incorrect or otherwise refute it.
Here’s the information given to the Examiner.
• At 7:23am, the RCMP informed HRP that Wortman is in a look-alike police vehicle: “Gabriel Wortman has an RCMP vehicle, a Taurus, complete with light, decals, and has 28 Bravo 11 on the vehicle. He also has an RCMP uniform. He has weapons stored at a location in Masstown, as well as Portland Street, and he’s purchased lots of ammo.”
That was almost a hour after the RCMP was told by GW’s common-law spouse that GW was driving such a vehicle. It as also an hour-and-a-half before the RCMP tweeted out GW’s name and photo. And the RCMP notification to HRP that GW was driving a look-alike police cruiser was made almost three hours before the RCMP notified the public of that fact via Twitter.
One of the Examiner’s questions to Kinsella was: Why wasn’t that information immediately conveyed to the public?
• At 7:48am, the HRP emergency response team requested additional ERT members be called in. That request was denied.
We asked Kinsella: Can you explain who denied that request, and why it was denied? Do you think that HRP members or the general public may have been put at greater risk because the request was denied?
• At 10:26am, HRP issued an order to its members to not travel past the airport, which is the approximate boundary of the HRP service area.
We asked Kinsella: Did the RCMP request assistance that might have necessitated leaving HRM or the service area of the HRM? And if so, why wasn’t that allowed? Also, what was the operational basis for the decision to order HRP members not to travel farther than the airport?
• At 10:56am, HRP issued an order “not to shoot” GW, but his vehicle was to be prevented from entering HRM.
We asked Kinsella: Why would members be instructed not to shoot a person known to have killed multiple victims? How would officers stop GW’s vehicle without shooting at him?
We additionally asked Kinsella if he has instituted an institutional review of HRP’s response to events of that morning, and if he has any other comments concerning these incidents.
If Kinsella responds, we will update this post.
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