News

1. Bodies not discovered for 18 hours

Joy Bond and Peter Bond. Photo: Facebook.
Jolene Oliver, Emily Tuck and Aaron (Friar) Tuck. Photo: GoFundMe

“The bodies of five victims on the mass murders of April 18/19, 2020 — Joy and Peter Bond, Aaron and Emily Tuck, and Jolene Oliver — were not discovered by the RCMP until 4:45pm on Sunday, April 19, more than 18 hours after they were shot by the killer,” I reported yesterday:

Why the delay?

“It did not occur to me to look for additional [crime] scenes,” said Sgt. Andy O’Brien, who was in charge of containing crime scenes in Portapique for much of the day on Sunday.

The article details what RCMP officers did — and crucially, didn’t do — in Portapique on Sunday, April 19.

Staff Sgt. Al Carroll and O’Brien saw themselves as simply caretakers of the various crime scenes in Portapique, and their job was to keep out the pesky public until the Major Crime unit could get to the town. Major Crime investigators were quite busy with multiple crime scenes across the province, so it was well into the night before they arrived in Portapique.

Both Carroll and O’Brien knew that the Emergency Response Team (ERT) had been conducting a door-to-door evacuation of Portapique starting at just after 9am, and that evacuation was interrupted by the murder of Lillian Campbell in Wentworth — at around 9:45am, the ERT team rushed to try to engage the killer (they never caught up with him).

That meant that the southern end of Portapique had not been evacuated. No one had knocked on doors on Cobequid Court or Bay View Court, along the bay.

Since the killer was elsewhere, there was no further threat to residents of Portapique, and so no need to evacuate them. But what if any of them had been injured? That thought did not occur to Carroll or O’Brien, or to the officers they commanded. Cpl. Rodney Peterson was downright annoyed when Aaron Tuck’s family contacted him to say they couldn’t contact Tuck and ask for a well-being check at Tuck’s Cobequid Court home. “I don’t think we should be taking these calls,” Peterson told the dispatch centre. “We’re trying to do things out here.”

There’s a lot of new detail in the article. Click here to read that.

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2. Cpl. Rodney Peterson

Cpl. Rodney Peterson (left). Photo: RCMP Nova Scotia Facebook page

At around 7:30am on Sunday, April 19, Halifax Regional Police Cst. Pierre Bourdages obtained a photo of the mass murderer’s fake police car from one of Lisa Banfield’s relatives and immediately sent the photo to the RCMP.

The RCMP failed to alert the public about the fake car, but the photo was posted on the computer system available to all RCMP officers. But of those officers, Cpl. Rodney Peterson, failed to log into his computer system. (This is the very same Cpl. Rodney Peterson who was later in the day annoyed that Aaron Tuck’s family was asking him to conduct well-being checks in Portapique.)

I wrote about this failure here:

But Peterson couldn’t log in to the computer. “I’m having issues with the computer, which is fairly common with those,” he said. “You know, you log on, somebody didn’t log off properly, or there’s a communication issue with, you know, it won’t transmit.”

Peterson still couldn’t log in to the computer, so decided to drive to Portapique and try to log in once he got there. But on the road, he had phone call with Cst. Adam MacDonald, who was in Portapique. MacDonald told Peterson that there were “multiple people shot” in the community.

Also, said MacDonald, “we’re looking for a police car… and it has decals on it.”

MacDonald said a photo of the car had been sent out on the computer system that Peterson couldn’t log into…

At 9:39am, a Be On The Lookout (BOLO) was issued that gave a description and a photo of the killer’s car, and it appears to have successfully downloaded to Peterson’s Mobile Work Station. At that time, Peterson was pulling into the Masstown Market drive-thru, when, at 9:42am, Colchester dispatch announced the murder of Lillian Campbell:

Ah, Colchester members from 355, we have just had a shooting on Highway 4 in Wentworth. A female is deceased on the side of the road. Um, unknown if she’s been shot or hit by a vehicle. Ah, they heard a loud bang, saw an RCMP vehicle, left heading towards Truro.

Wentworth was about 30 kilometres from Peterson’s position in Masstown, straight up Highway 4.

“I said, ‘I’m not going to the drive-thru now,’” he recalled.

“I’m in Masstown now, guys,” Peterson radios at 8:43. “I can head in that direction.”

Peterson still hadn’t seen the photo of the fake police car.

A minute later, at about halfway between the home of Adam and Carole Fisher and the Hidden Hilltop Campground, the killer passed Peterson — the killer heading south, Peterson heading north. Peterson still didn’t understand that the killer was driving a fully marked police car….

Here’s the police radio traffic:

9:47:24am — PETERSON: I just saw an RCMP office — ah, car going towards Masstown on number 4 there, guys. Is that fully marked, like, or is it an ex-police car?

9:47:36am — H – ERT Base: The car we’re looking for is a fully marked PC, 28-Bravo-11, ID of it.

9:47:43am — PETERSON: Yeah, he just passed me going to Masstown, I think. He got a reflective vest on, guys.

9:47:53am — H – ERT Base: OK, go again.

9:47:56am — PETERSON: That vehicle just passed me. Ah, he’s almost to Masstown on the number 4.

9:48:04am — H – ERT Base: Copy

9:48:06 — PETERSON: The guy ah, was driving slow, smiled as he went by. Ah, white Caucasian male, ah looked like brownish hair. He’s got a reflective ah, vest or jacket on.

9:48:18am — CST. BROWN: That — that’s him! That’s got to be him. And it’s 28-Bravo-11, not 48.

9:48:18am — PETERSON: Yeah, not sure — not sure ah, the call sign was, ah, he’s passed me now. I’m not sure if he went on the Highway or not.

Peterson was referring to Highway 104, which intersected with Highway 4 to the south of his position.

Having passed the killer, Peterson was at a slight bend in the highway, and decided he couldn’t make a turn just then.

Peterson’s failure to recognized the fully marked fake police car causes the Staff Sergeant great anguish to this day, but Cst. Nick Dorrington put the onus for the failure squarely on Peterson.

In his interview with Mass Casualty Commission investigators, Dorrington explained that he was in Portapique when the murder of Lillian Campbell came over the radio:

It was around that point we get over the radio, Cpl. Peterson, who’s my immediate supervisor for our team, he indicates he’s at the Masstown Market area. I think that he had stated that just prior to the Wentworth shooting.

And he subsequently leaves the Masstown Market area and drives, as it would turn out to be on the Number 4 highway. So he’s on the Number 4 highway and he’s heading northbound, and in the process of doing so, he sees a vehicle and an individual that he believes to be [the killer].

So, we have an individual that’s in a fully marked police car, that has the push grill on front, which none of our cars in Colchester County have, and he’s wearing a traffic vest style. Not a RCMP traffic jacket, it’s more of a — somebody that would be doing traffic control with a stop sign or yield sign, that kind of stuff.

And Cpl. Peterson gets on the radio and says something to the effect that, “I think the killer just passed by me and waved,” or smiled or something to that effect. SO, we tried to do a status check to find out where he’s [Peterson] at. So, if we know where he is, then we know where the killer is. But you — you can’t find him, so — you can’t find him because he’s not logged on.

So, that’s problematic. So, when dispatch asks him where he’s at, he — he can’t articulate where he’s at. SO that’s also problematic. So, the Number 4 highway is huge, yeah, kilometres and kilometres long. I wouldn’t even venture a guess, probably 40 kilometres long, at least. He could be anywhere, anywhere from the 104 Highway up to Tatamagouce.

So, it’s  — so, it’s — anyway, so, it’s a problem. We’ve lost continuity. So, Peterson doesn’t turn around to reaquire and continues north. Then [the killer] goes to another residence, I’m not sure who it was, and he starts pounding on the door.

Dorrington went on to relate what he knew of what happened at the Fisher’s residence.

There are two issues here: Peterson did not recognize the oncoming car as the fake police car being driven by the killer because he had not logged onto his computer to download the photo of the car, and, because Peterson wasn’t logged into his computer, dispatchers and other officers could not see Peterson’s position on their computers, and so therefore didn’t know the approximate location of the killer.

As result, the next responding officers staged on Highway 4 too far south of the Fishers’ house, causing a delay that allowed the killer to escape the Fishers’ house without capture. Five people were subsequently murdered.

Later in the interview, the questioner, MCC Lead Investigator Will Crews, brought Dorrington back to the incident on Highway 4, asking how long Peterson had been on the road without being logged on to the computer.

“This could be problematic,” responded Dorrington. “I’ll just tell you the way it is.”

Apparently fearing that Dorrington is about to get into treacherous territory on a recorded interview, MCC Primary Investigator Wayne Fowler interjected: “Do you want to take a little break so we can talk?”

I can only interpret that as Fowler meaning that he was offering Dorrington the opportunity to talk off-the-record.

“Yeah?” echoed Crews, the questioner.

“No, it’s all good,” replied Dorrington, clearly understanding the implications of criticizing another cop on a recorded interview.

Referring to the events unfolding overnight in Portapique, Dorrington said he did not call Peterson, his superior, to come to the detachment:

So, I can only speak for myself in regards to — for a decision not to call out Peterson on the call [to Portapique, in the later hours of April 18]. So, it was MacDonald that called myself and Lafferty, and any one of  us, but I’ll speak for myself, could have made the decision to call Peterson because he is a supervisor. So, for myself, I chose — it was a choice not to call him because I — my perception, and this is my perception, is that he is not particularly tactically sound.

And I say that for a number of different reasons, one of which is he has a consistent habit of not logging into his vehicle. So, this wasn’t the first occasion; it wasn’t even the 10th occasion. He consistently does not log into his vehicle to the point where junior members, like myself and others, have spoken to him because it puts us at risk. And it hasn’t changed.

So, the day in question, I’m not sure why he was there, because there was nobody left to cover Colchester County because his whole team was in Portapique. So, realistically, he probably should have been anywheres else but Portapique. So he wasn’t logged in and

The rest of this portion of the interview is entirely redacted in the transcript of the interview.

Understand what Dorrington was saying. All the officers who Peterson commanded had such little faith in his abilities that they didn’t alert him to the unfolding mass murders. And then, when Peterson showed up for his regular shift, he once again — not for the first time, not for the 10th time — failed to log into his computer, a failure for which he had been told endangers other officers. And on that fateful day, Peterson’s failure to log in to the computer resulted in his inability to recognize the killer driving towards him, and then resulted in the rest of the responding officers not knowing where to go.

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3. ‘Accommodation’

Retired RCMP Staff Sergeant Al Carroll.

Writes Stephen Kimber:

Allowing two RCMP officers to testify in pre-recorded sessions without the direct involvement of lawyers for the families undermines the credibility of the commission. And that’s unfortunate for all of us.

Click here to read “The Mass Casualty Commission and the Catch-22 of witness ‘accommodation.’”

4. Bryan Gibson

“Former amateur boxer Jaimie Peerless described herself as a “troubled youth” when she met her boxing coach Bryan Gibson in 2000 when she joined the Evangeline Trail Amateur Boxing Club in Kentville,” reports Matthew Byard:

“I was one of the misguided youth that was going to end up in trouble,” she said in an interview with the Halifax Examiner. “And I had red flags that were going to start marking my permanent record if I didn’t straighten up. And Bryan straightened me up.”

Prior to becoming a coach, Gibson boxed for Canada in the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics. After retiring from in-ring competition, he moved back to Kentville with his family where he started the Evangeline Trail Amateur Boxing Club with his late wife, Terri.

On Thursday, Peerless, now a graphic designer, unveiled an art mural she created to be displayed on the side of the King’s Arm Pub in downtown Kentville. The mural honours Gibson’s life and boxing career.

Photos: Bryan Gibson

Click here to read “New mural in Kentville honours life, boxing career of Olympian Bryan Gibson.”

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Government

City

Monday

Executive Standing Committee (Monday, 10am, City Hall) — also via video

Advisory Committee on Accessibility in HRM (Monday, 4pm) — virtual meeting

Tuesday

Committee of the Whole and Halifax Regional Council (Tuesday, 1pm) — virtual meeting; Committee of the Whole agenda, Halifax Regional Council agenda

Province

Monday

No meetings

Tuesday

Human Resources (Tuesday, 10am, One Government Place) — Promoting Healthy Living in Students, with representatives from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development; Plus Agency, Board, and Commission Appointments

Health (Tuesday, 2pm, Province House) — Improving Cardiac Arrest Outcomes in Nova Scotia, with representatives from the QEII, IWK, Dalhousie, emergency health Services, and heart and Stroke Nova Scotia


On campus

No events


In the harbour

Halifax
05:30: Sunshine Ace, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
06:30: Berge Atlas, bulker, arrives at anchorage from IJmuiden, Netherlands
07:00: Island Princess, cruise ship with up to 2,657 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Port Everglades, Florida, on a 34-day cruise to Southampton, England
08:15: Zaandam, cruise ship with up to 1,718 passengers, arrives at Pier 20 from Bar Harbor, on a sevend-day cruise from Boston to Montreal
11:30: Sunshine Ace sails for sea
12:00: Berge Atlas sails for sea
14:00: Atlantic Star, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
16:00: MSC Poh Lin, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Piraeus, Greece
16:30: Island Princess sails for Reykjavik, Iceland
17:00: Augusta Sun, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 27 from Mariel, Cuba
17:45: Zaandam sails for Sydney
18:30: Tropic Lissette, cargo ship, sails from Pier 41 for Palm Beach, Florida
01:30 (Tuesday): Atlantic Star sails for New York

Cape Breton
08:30: CSL Argosy, bulker, arrives at Aulds Cove quarry from Dakar, Senegal
08:30: Mia Desgagnes, oil tanker, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from Gaspé, Quebec
12:00: Tanja, bulker, arrives at Port Hawkesbury Paper from Searsport, Maine


Footnotes

I can’t yet report on it, but I am right now listening to the MCC questioning of Staff Sgt. Brian Rehill.


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Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Mr. Nick Dorrington thank you for your present & past service. Your honesty is truly refreshing and unfortunately not that common among your co-workers and supervisors. You certainly stand out and are a true example of how we would like our modern day leaders to behave.