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Canada RCMP officer killed in Nova Scotia's mass shooting died in exchange of gunfire

01:26  12 april  2022
01:26  12 april  2022 Source:   msn.com

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HALIFAX — An RCMP officer who was killed in Nova Scotia’s 2020 mass shooting was racing to support another officer when the fatal encounter with the gunman occurred near a highway interchange.

  RCMP officer killed in Nova Scotia's mass shooting died in exchange of gunfire © Provided by The Canadian Press

New documents tabled at the public inquiry into the killings show Const. Heidi Stevenson died following a frantic exchange of gunfire with the killer, who had jumped a lane of traffic in his replica police vehicle in order to drive the wrong way down a highway ramp and slam into the Mountie’s cruiser.

The incident took place on April 19, 2020, near Shubenacadie, N.S., the morning after the killer — disguised as an RCMP officer — murdered 13 people in the tiny rural community of Portapique, N.S. He would kill another nine people, including Stevenson and motorist Joseph Webber, before he was killed by police at a gas station outside of Halifax.

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According to a foundational document released by the inquiry, Stevenson was responding to a potential sighting of the gunman’s replica vehicle near RCMP Const. Chad Morrison. Morrison was on alert after RCMP dispatch had broadcast the possible sighting at around 10:44 a.m.

Shortly after, he noticed a Ford Taurus police vehicle travelling towards him “a couple of hundred metres back.” Morrison radioed for identification and Stevenson replied “that’s me.”

After pulling a gentle U-turn, Morrison pulled over near a stop sign on Gays River Road at the intersection with Highway 2.

However, it soon became apparent the approaching vehicle wasn’t Stevenson’s when Morrison noticed a black push bar on the front of the car,a feature that Stevenson's car did not have.

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But he still didn’t know it was killer Gabriel Wortman who was driving until the fugitive pulled up alongside and began firing shots through the driver-side window. Morrison heard at least three or four shots, screamed and hit the gas.

“Glass was breaking and I was hearing things go off and I felt, um, something in my chest and I felt like, things happening in my arms and I know I had this gash on my face,” he told investigators.

As Morrison sped off to get medical assistance, he radioed, “I’m shot. I’m shot. Southbound on Number 2. Southbound on 2 taking the Shubie. I’m shot.”

“It’s the suspect vehicle. It’s him,” he added.

Stevenson heard Morrison's radio message and she continued to his last known position. The collision with Wortman occurred at 10:49 a.m.

After the head-on crash, the nose of Stevenson’s vehicle was facing the ramp’s guardrail while the rear of Wortman’s vehicle was near Stevenson’s passenger-side door.

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Stevenson got out of her vehicle and went to the ground, although the commission notes conflicting witness testimony on whether it was under her own power or the result of “interference by the perpetrator.”

According to the document, several shots were fired towards Stevenson’s vehicle, after which Wortman approached the officer and shot her at close range before taking her pistol and ammunition.

It said forensic evidence at the scene suggests Stevenson likely exited her vehicle and was facing in Wortman’s direction during the gunfire exchange. Fourteen casings were found that were consistent with having been fired from her Smith & Wesson pistol.

Investigators also said it was plausible that a wound later found on the upper right side of the killer’s head was caused by bullet fragments from Stevenson’s weapon.

Meanwhile, a motorist, Joseph Webber, arrived at the scene. Witness Gerald Whitman called 911 to report the collision and gunshots and at around 10:53 a.m. he told the dispatcher about Webber's arrival.

”And there was a guy that stopped with an SUV, but I don’t see him anymore. The SUV’s there but ... it’s pretty weird. Both cars are just smashed to hell.”

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Whitman said Webber approached Wortman, who directed him to the back seat of the replica cruiser. He said there were shots and then the cruiser was set on fire before the killer jumped in the silver SUV and drove away.

Investigators interviewed 27 people who witnessed the events from vehicles or from their homes near the scene.

Dean Martin, who lived north of the cloverleaf interchange, said he heard four to eight gunshots. Martin, who took 11 photos at the scene, observed the killer take out gas cans and set one of the police cruisers on fire.

He told police, ”I have never seen someone that looked so casual in my life. It’s like he wasn’t getting excited, he wasn’t, he was just kinda taking it out like it was an average day.”

The first RCMP members to reach the scene at 10:57 a.m. were four members of the Emergency Response Team. Const. Andy MacLellan pulled Stevenson’s body away from the burning vehicle and checked for vital signs before confirming she was dead.

By 10:59 a.m., the team had left the scene to look for the silver SUV after getting the information about the vehicle from a witness.

Cpl. Tim Mills radioed warnings to other RCMP units as the team drove along Highway 224.

”If you see a silver SUV Tracker with a guy with a yellow jacket … you got to, you can’t give him a second. You got to have a gun on him. Gun on him.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2022.

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

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usr: 0
This is interesting!