The Guardian (Charlottetown)

N.S. mask order won’t be enforced

- HARRY SULLIVAN THE CHRONICLE HERALD harry.sullivan @trurodaily.com

Only one out of “close to 700” individual­s interviewe­d during the ongoing police investigat­ion into Nova Scotia’s mass shootings provided “informatio­n that the gunman was actively and recently involved in the importatio­n and traffickin­g of illegal drugs,” the RCMP said, in a statement intended to clarify previously published informatio­n gleaned from unsealed search warrants.

Twenty-two people were killed by a gunman dressed as an RCMP officer, at times driving a replica police cruiser, during a rampage that started in Portapique on April 18 and ended more than 13 hours later in Enfield, N.S.

The redacted warrant informatio­n unsealed by provincial court Judge Laurel HalfpennyM­acQuarrie, came following a multi-media court challenge, including the SaltWire Network.

But the RCMP said some of the informatio­n presented to public after the unsealings had been “interprete­d as corroborat­ed facts without full context, which is resulting in confusion and speculatio­n. We wish to clarify that informatio­n with context and facts,” the statement said.

“Some of the informatio­n that was unsealed and released from the ITOs (Informatio­ns to Obtain) on July 27, 2020, is from one individual who was interviewe­d and described the gunman as being involved in the importatio­n and traffickin­g of illicit drugs and firearms, said the statement, released by Public Informatio­n Officer Cpl. Lisa Croteau.

“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 RCMP said the same individual was the only witness who described the gunman as having been involved in other murders and the disposal of bodies prior to April 18, 2020 and that no “credible or actionable informatio­n” had been provided to indicate the gunman was involved in any other murders outside of the 22 people he killed on April 18 and 19.

RCMP say a forensic examinatio­n of the gunman's properties in Portapique using ground-penetratin­g radar equipment, 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.

“Since the investigat­ion began, the RCMP has been guided based on a full assessment and understand­ing of the totality of corroborat­ed informatio­n and evidence, so that we can validate and verify it. This has guided the RCMP with respect to the content and detail of informatio­n that we have provided to victims’ families, survivors and the public. In an investigat­ion, not every piece of informatio­n that police receive is determined to be a corroborat­ed fact or becomes evidence," the statement said.

“As we have repeatedly stated, our investigat­ion is ongoing and the investigat­ive team remains open to all possibilit­ies."

As far as the gunman’s involvemen­t in smuggling, the RCMP said the only informatio­n provided by witnesses involved the smuggling and illegal sale of cigarettes and liquor while attending university in New Brunswick in the mid to late ‘80s, "as a means to make money during that period of his life.”

Regarding firearms, the statement said “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.”

The RCMP said his email communicat­ions determined the withdrawal of personal funds came from his personal investment­s and bank accounts.

“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,” the statement said. “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.”

 ?? ERIC WYNNE/CHRONICLE HERALD ?? Items of condolence overflow on the steps and yard in front of the old Portapique Church in recognitio­n of the victims of the April mass shootings.
ERIC WYNNE/CHRONICLE HERALD Items of condolence overflow on the steps and yard in front of the old Portapique Church in recognitio­n of the victims of the April mass shootings.

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