Witness said killer in N.S. mass shooting 'recently' acquired gun from estate
A portion of a witness statement released Friday says the gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia had "recently'' acquired one of his firearms in Canada from the estate of a friend who died.
The disclosure following a court hearing still doesn't provide the calibre or model of the five weapons used during the rampage.
Crown prosecutors voluntarily released a few details to a media consortium after a court hearing, though large sections of the court documents remain redacted.
The media group, which includes The Canadian Press, is seeking wider disclosure of the evidence police used to obtain search warrants related to the April 18-19 mass shooting.
The RCMP had said in a June 4 news conference that of the five firearms possessed by the killer, three were obtained illegally from the United States and one was obtained illegally in Canada "through the estate of a deceased associate.''
The Canadian Press has emailed the RCMP to ask for the date the shooter acquired the Canadian firearm, but a spokeswoman said she didn't expect to be able to provide a response to that and other questions until next week.
Gun control advocates have said details about the firearms used are important to the discussion surrounding the federal government's recent move to ban 1,500 military-style assault firearms.
The fifth firearm was taken from RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson after the shooter's vehicle ran into hers and he killed her in an exchange of gunfire.
The Crown also released a sentence from a witness statement saying the gunman purchased material used for the RCMP decals on his replica vehicle on July 3, about nine months before his rampage.
On April 28, RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell told a news conference the 51-year-old denturist was believed to have purchased the materials in the fall of last year.
The court also released a seventh search warrant, with large portions blacked out, in which officers sought records for the shooter's landline telephone and a cellular phone.
It notes the suspect didn't own a cellphone and he had smashed another person's cellphone, which police believed was in the burnt remains of his home in Portapique, N.S.
"The historical call details in the possession of Bell Aliant ... will show who [the suspect] and (name blanked out) had been in contact with prior to the incident,'' the officer said in the April 24 document.
"The information will assist in determining if there are any co-conspirators in this tragic event.''
The RCMP said in an email they will respond next week to a question about whether they have determined if there were co-conspirators.
Each of the applications for a search warrant is accompanied by a grim recounting of the events that started on the night of April 18, when the killer assaulted his common-law spouse at his seasonal home in the village of Portapique.
Armed with several semi-automatic weapons, he set fire to properties and killed 13 people in Portapique before he left the area, disguised as a Mountie and driving the vehicle that looked exactly like an RCMP cruiser.
He killed another nine people the following day in several other communities in northern and central Nova Scotia before an RCMP officer fatally shot him at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., about 90 kilometres south of Portapique.
(With files from Michael Tutton of The Canadian Press)