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Mass shooter wore ‘melancholy look’ before wounding Mountie: search warrants

The gunman of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia is spotted on video surveillance changing his clothes in Millbrook on April 19, 2020.
The gunman of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia is spotted on video surveillance changing his clothes in Millbrook on April 19, 2020. - Contributed

The RCMP officer wounded by a mass shooter in April says the killer was wearing a melancholic expression before he shot at the Mountie.  

Const. Chad Morrison was planning to meet up with Const. Heidi Stevenson at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 224  when the killer showed up in his fake police car. The black push bar on the Dartmouth denturist’s car gave Morrison some pause. But based on the fact that Const. Stevenson had said it was her when they talked on the radio, Morrison relaxed, according to new search warrants in the case released Monday.  

“Other than the black push bar, there was nothing different about the marked police car,” said the warrants.  

The killer wasn’t going fast, but then Morrison noticed the driver was a man, not Stevenson. He brought his car up beside Morrison so they would be window-to-window.  

That’s when Morrison realized the driver was the man police were searching for who had murdered multiple people in Portapique and then took his killing spree to Wentworth Valley before heading toward Halifax.  

“Const. Morrison said the suspect looked to have a melancholy look expression as he was turning in front of him and then he had a ‘grit’ look on his face as he started to raise the gun,” say search warrants.  

The killer, whom SaltWire is not naming, “brandished a handgun out the window and began firing on him.”   

The 11-year veteran of the RCMP hit an emergency response button on the radio in his patrol car several times to indicate he needed help, but he didn’t think it worked, said the warrants. So he got on his radio, said he had been shot and was going to the emergency health services station in Milford.  

Const. Morrison tried to get into the station, but nobody was there. He started worrying about what could happen if the shooter followed him there “and how he would be a sitting duck in the parking lot,” said search warrants.   

So he grabbed his rifle and went behind the EHS building.  

From there, he could see emergency vehicles responding to the scene where the gunman had shot Stevenson. On his radio, he could hear another police officer say, “Stevenson is down.”  

The Dartmouth denturist killed 22, including Stevenson, during his April 18-19 shooting spree that ended when Mounties shot him dead at the Enfield Big Stop.  

The warrants reveal that there were seemingly no shortage of weapons at the gunman’s multiple Portapique properties. He kept a fancy warehouse or shop that housed decommissioned RCMP cars and several motorcycles, a built-in loft and bar. 

In a heavily redacted statement from an unidentified cousin of the gunman, he’s described as paranoid. Worried about the Canadian Revenue Agency he put his house in his parents’ name. The statement alluded to what appears to be a significant argument with his father because he wouldn’t remove his name from the property. 

The documents also shine light on a man, Peter Griffon, who did decal work on the gunman’s decommissioned RCMP car used in the massacre. In his statement to investigators, he said he had been working for the gunman at his shop in Portapique on the day of the mass shooting. He said he had last spoken to the former denturist  at about 12:30 p.m. that day and then stopped working at 5 p.m 

From his home, Griffon said he spotted what he thought was a brush fire at the gunman’s warehouse. He soon discovered that it was the warehouse in flames. Griffon ended up at his father's place after making multiple calls to  911. He received a call from 911 instructing him to stay inside the house, lock the doors and not answer the door.   

Griffon noticed headlights coming into the yard, then someone knocking on the door, presumed to be the gunman, and ringing the door bell. He did not answer the door. 

Surveillance camera evidence shows where and when the gunman spent the night on April 18. He ended up at an industrial park on Ventura Drive in Debert, arriving just after 11 p.m. He departed Ventura Drive onto Plains Road at 5:43 a.m. the next day. Investigators found a number of items left behind by the gunman, including ammo packing, RCMP brown high boots and nuknuuk slippers. 

The warrants reveal details on some of his mysterious financial transactions over the years under his other businesses.  He owned Berkshire Broman Corporation, listed as a used car business, and from which he purchased multiple decommissioned Ford Taurus RCMP vehicles. Another of his holdings, Northumberland Investments Inc., was listed as an operator of residential buildings and dwellings. Two cash deposits worth $200,000 were registered in that business account in August 2010 and were flagged as atypical deposits.  

He also used his PayPal account to purchase police equipment, including siren lights,  thin blue line stickers and a Ford Taurus sedan police push bumper ram bar. 

More details emerged about a recently released video of the gunman making a significant cash pickup. The warrants say that in late March the gunman visited his CIBC bank outlet on Portland Street in Dartmouth and freed up $475,000 by liquidating some of his assets and cashing in on investments.

He arranged for Brinks to provide the money in 100-dollar bills at its facility on Ilsley Avenue in Dartmouth. He picked the money up on March 30.  

On April 20, investigators went to his Portapique cabin and found a large sum of money in an ammo can. The cash was divided into several tinfoil packages.  

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