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Nova Scotia shooter attacked his girlfriend before mass murder

The shooter involved in a mass killing in Nova Scotia began his attack by handcuffing and assaulting his girlfriend before she escaped and hid in the surrounding woods.

Gabriel Wortman’s girlfriend, who has not been identified, was badly beaten, but survived the assault and later informed officers of Wortman’s fake police cruiser, which the shooter used to evade police for several hours as his rampage continued through central Nova Scotia.

Investigators believe Wortman and his girlfriend were at a party at a nearby home in the Portapique area when Wortman began arguing with her. They left the party and sources believe Wortman escalated the argument back at his cottage — assaulting her and tying her up.

Wortman left his cottage after the assault and investigators believe that’s when the shootings started. He returned to the house where the party was being held and killed several people there. It was the shooter’s girlfriend who also provided officers with an image of the vehicle, which was shared on the Nova Scotia RCMP’s Twitter page.

The murderer had access to multiple guns over the course of the rampage — a rifle, a handgun and a shotgun.

Police found the gunman's girlfriend around 7 a.m. local, sources said. It was from her they learned he was likely dressed as a police officer and driving a fake cruiser. She also provided the picture of the vehicle that was widely distributed. The information changed the way police were searching for Wortman.

Police have not yet commented on a possible motive, nor have they said whether the killing was planned.

A member of the RCMP’s Emergency Response Team and an RCMP K9 officer spotted Wortman at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., when they stopped there. Wortman realized the police had spotted him and went for his gun but the highly trained ERT officer shot and killed him before he could fire on police, sources said.

The RCMP is investigating 16 scenes throughout the province and, as of Tuesday afternoon, said at least 22 people are dead.

The RCMP have not said how many of the victims Wortman knew.

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