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Active Shooter In NS. April 19 2020

Blackadder1916

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Humphrey Bogart said:
As I said, the Bundespolizei have 84 helicopters, for a Country that is geographically half the size of Alberta.

While the BPOL may be much better equipped aviation-wise than the RCMP, their missions are sometimes also different.  While it may be Germany's federal police agency, it does not do the front-line policing as that done by the RCMP on a contract basis.  The BPOL, which evolved from the border police and transport police, continues to have those as primary functions - controlling the border as well as some coast guard functions (including operating ships), providing security for the railway system and airports, security of Federal government buildings, helicopter rescue service (an EMS function) and of course, a counter-terrorism role (GSG 9).  It can be requested to provide support to "Landespolizei" - the state police services who do much of the uniformed policing in Germany.

Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe German police are responsible for coastal SAR. Not the military.

The Bundeswehr does have a SAR (not just CSAR) response capability in conjunction with other government agencies as well as civilian charitable organizations - on land https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OCFGs8mEvM as well as on the sea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo808mb6Uq0 - the white and orange vessel in the maritime video is with the charitable rescue group Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger (DGzRS) or German Maritime Search and Rescue Association
 

lenaitch

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Brihard said:
OK, got a bit of time now.

First, on the Nova Scotia shooting particularly- and I won't be saying everything I want to say here, not by a long sot, but I can point out some geenral facts and observations that are plainly discernable from what's already out there, or that aren't particularly sensitive.

The event unfolded over a span of twelve + hours. Critical Incident Command was activated early, as was ERT. When the shooter was finally stopped, that wasn't the first ERT was involved. They'd been at it all night. The final confrontation wasn't a matter of the ERT truck finally happened to be making their merry little way from Halifax, and the truck had been parked with an eight of a tank of gas. An ERT guy and another member were on their own task and had been at it for a while probably bouncing around a lot as different info came in. It very much WAS pure happenstance that they ended up gassing up at the same time and place as the suspect, and it went down fast from there.

I have an exceptionally foul opinion of the characterization of Heidi in one of the 'articles' posted farther up thread. Yes, she had previously been at the Music Ride. Yes, she had done public relations work too. She also had done plenty of work as a cop on the road. At the time of her death she was working out of Enfield detachment. Before Enfield she was posted to Cole Harbour, hardly a sleepy and peaceful detachment. One of my good friends actually replaced here there. Heidi went down fighting. I'm not sure why the author thinks that an aluminum push bar mounted to a unibody chassis would have somehow given the other guy a huge advantage. By that point he had shot another member nearby (Chad Morrison), that member went over the air to report it, and Heidi moved to the threat on her own to try to stop him. Unfortunately he won that particular fight. ERT was on scene very quickly after that, and RCMP had a member overhead in an EMS helicopter -that's publicly known from the EMS radio that's open to the public.

I've seen some talk about why didn't RCMP call other police services like Truro to help? Well, they did. They helped by covering other calls not related to the shooting. That freed up Mounties to work the major file. Not least among the reasons why,t he police services do not all use compatible radios. Nova Scotia RCMP went to encrypted digital radios pretty recently. Truro police couldn't talk to them on the operational channel. HUGE liability in a major incident. You need everyone to be able to be on the same net. So we can put that one to bed. But other services did contribute to the larger picture- because while a huge thing is going on, other 'normal' but still emergency matters are taking place that can still necessitate immediate police response.

Unfortunately the bad guy hugely stacked the advantages in his favour and he made the most of it before he was stopped.


On the RMCP and rural policing more generally.

It's evident that it's not fully appreciated how independent each division is for almost all operational matters. The contract policing divisions are mostly paid for by the province, and this can include physical assets, not just officers on the road. The feds kick some money in, but if a province wants multiple ERTs, they need to pay for it. They want a helicopter, they're covering most of the costs. They want a new radio system, they're paying for it. In some cases the RCMP are contracted by municipalities themselves. Rural policing is thin on the ground anywhere you go. While the RCMP seem to have it worse than, say, OPP, it's still a simple reality that there are only so many out there- and on a night shift or weekend  you don't necessarily have a bunch of bodies in an office who can throw their belt and vest on and hit the road like what happened at Moncton. So that means that among the few scattered rural detachments - maybe 20-60 minutes apart from each other, each with just a couple members on, you need to be able to assemble and respond quickly to something highly dangerous potentially anywhere. The first few hours of that will be whoever happens to be on shift or can be called in quickly from bed.

When minutes count, ERT is only hours away. With few exceptions they generally aren't sitting there waiting for a call ready to go. Certainly not overnight in Nova Scotia. I'm not sure if NS' team is full time or part time- some provinces / territories have ERTs that are part time, when an ERT call comes in they drop what they're doing (whether at a desk or on the road), suit up and go. And at that, they can only work with the information available. They still need to be pointed at the threat and told 'go. If nobody can point them to the threat, all they can do is be ready for when that comes. ERT is a highly capable but also expensive capability. Nunavut was mentioned upthread- they had a team for a while, but they couldn't sustain it. They couldn't keep enough ERT trained members in the territory to have their own team. So now they have a containment team comprised of general duty members, and if they need ERT, they have to fly them up from Ottawa or Edmonton generally. Less than idea, but Nunavut cannot justify or sustain a full time ERT. That means you have to have enough members with that skillset doing other jobs, and that's tough. Everyone serving in the territories has volunteered to do so. Nunavut in particular is a short commitment, and there's a lot of turnover (and a lot of burnout). But, at that, nearly anywhere in the country ERT will take hours to get there. Critical incidents have a rude habit of not happening in convenient locations, and they're infrequent enough that the opportunity cost of maintaining Cadillac capabilities to respond really fast means taking away form member son the road taking calls, for a capability that will sit unused most of the time. Damned hard to justify... Yes, nearly every Mountie on the road has had a C8 and active shooter training for years now. That only goes so far.

Some changes will be coming. The RCMP are entering collective bargaining negotiations soon, having newly won the right to that and recently formed a union. Issues like 'cop to pop' ratio will be on the table for sure. The long term trend should be towards more officers on the road in isolated areas to be able to provide cover for each other. That is, however, going to come at a cost. The RCMP have been funded, paid, and treated as policing on the cheap for a long time. It's going to be a painful process as this changes, whether by agreement or binding arbitration.

Excellent post.

The question raised by others of rural vs. urban policing is simple; they are different, and the respective populations generally accept that.  A common benchmark is police:population which, by its very implication means that a small and scattered population will have a similarly small and scattered police coverage.  In Ontario, all organized municipalities are policed under contract; either via their own service, a neighbouring one or the OPP.  For the OPP, the costing formula is actually quite complex, involving weighted incident volumes, population, etc. along with a provinicial component.
I did not work with the RCMP enough to have a view on their operations (also being in a non-contract province).  Although it is a few years ago, a colleague retired to NB and got involved in community issues and his one frustration was in dealing with the RCMP contract meant they had to deal with Ottawa.  One would think that such matters would be managed at the divisional level.

Regarding specialized services, not only are they expensive, you can't simply have them is a glass jar with a hammer constantly waiting to go.  I can well imagine why a specialized weapons team in Nunuvut would be virtually impossible to keep  competent.  In the early days, the OPP had six full time tactics teams in the province (TRU).  Not only were adjoining teams too far away to relieve a deployment, the team in N/W Ontario simply didn't have the call volume to maintain competency.  They now have three larger teams.  Response times is still an issue.  You can only move a few members and some gear by helicopter or light aircraft.  The Force has also beefed up its first level weapons/containment teams (ERT).  They are part time but they are scattered throughout the province.  Aviation assets are astonishingly expensive, especially in a province the size of Ontario.  At least it has the tax base; the Maritimes not so much.

Tactical radio communications always seems to come up in just about every after action review, not only the technology but how the members use it (tactical verbal communications is not a strong point in my view; 'what, they want to tell me how to talk?').  Commonality is also an issue.  Ontario has committed upwards of $1Bn for an upgrade to its emergency services radio net.  It will not include municipalities with their own service but I beleive everybody has committed to the current North American standard.

I have obviously not been involved in an incident of this magnitude, but can well imagine a handful of on-duty night shift members scattered over a large rural area, perhaps with an NCO or two, trying to makes sense of what was unfolding.  Oftentimes, multiple calls from the public regarding the same incident add to the confusion.
 

Remius

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Just an anecdote. 

I know the RCMP is deploying more and more Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.  Drones.  Now they can’t  carry people obviously but they can cover a lot of space in remote locations and do a variety of tasks similar to helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

I met a drone operator from up North.  A Civilian Member who was qualified to operate them.  Wasn’t that individual’s primary task but was so in demand that it quickly became a primary task as opposed to a secondary one.

Some of the challenges noted were getting people qualified. 

Note: this information came to me from a casual conversation in an unrelated training environment.  I have no real information on the drone program whatsoever.  Just peripheral. 

Not a perfect replacement to some air services assets but it seems like a cheaper alternative to fill some gaps.  But i’ll defer to others that may have more knowledge on that than me.
 

lenaitch

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Remius said:
Just an anecdote. 

I know the RCMP is deploying more and more Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.  Drones.  Now they can’t  carry people obviously but they can cover a lot of space in remote locations and do a variety of tasks similar to helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

I met a drone operator from up North.  A Civilian Member who was qualified to operate them.  Wasn’t that individual’s primary task but was so in demand that it quickly became a primary task as opposed to a secondary one.

Some of the challenges noted were getting people qualified. 

Note: this information came to me from a casual conversation in an unrelated training environment.  I have no real information on the drone program whatsoever.  Just peripheral. 

Not a perfect replacement to some air services assets but it seems like a cheaper alternative to fill some gaps.  But i’ll defer to others that may have more knowledge on that than me.

All I know about the program is conversations with some operators since it has evolved after I retired.  Drones have been widely adopted for tasks like scene mapping and some limited search roles.  For ground searching, they are still limited by battery life, translating into range and, to a degree, communications range with the controller.  Also, they lack any ability to illuminate.  Things are evolving, particularly in terms of optics; perhaps better range will come along.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Perhaps Dimsum could weigh in, but I do not believe that NavCanada has quite wrapped its head around RPAS operations in a VFR setting, which will limit how much any police force can use this technology for anything other than a specific incident or scene management. I don’t see RPAS doing traffic patrol any time soon, if that is what you are suggesting.
 

Jarnhamar

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Has there been more information about the 2013 complaint made to the RCMP by Brenda Forbes regarding domestic abuse (assault?) and the illegally owned weapons he was apparently showing off? She alleges nothing was done about it.
 

brihard

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Jarnhamar said:
Has there been more information about the 2013 complaint made to the RCMP by Brenda Forbes regarding domestic abuse (assault?) and the illegally owned weapons he was apparently showing off? She alleges nothing was done about it.

I wouldn't expect to see any information come out about this in the short term. I'm sure it forms at a minimum a key part of the actual investigation into what happened in the shooting, and I would be astonished if there wasn't a deep dive historical review into what happened. I won't speculate any further than that.

My understanding of what's alleged is that a few people were aware of domestic violence, but that neither the victim nor actual firsthand witnesses were willing to provide statements to police on it. Similarly it sounds like whoever personally saw firearms was not willing to provide a statement and if necessary testify to that effect. I may not be 100% on this.

Stepping back form this specific case, and speaking more generally:

To charge someone with an offense, police have to have reasonable grounds to believe a person has committed an offense. They have to have sufficient weight of evidence that crown can take the matter through court and have a reasonable prospect of conviction. If you don't have cooperative victims or witnesses... Good luck. Been there, done that. It's frustrating. It is possible to get convictions in domestic violence cases without a cooperative victim, but generally you need a solid, credible, cooperative witness, or something really clean like good security video. Even at that, crown will tpically only push such a case through if it's very clear that the victim is probably really not in a position to feel safe cooperating, or if the accused has a history that strongly makes it in the public interest to move forward despite lack of victim cooperation. But you need that real, admissible evidence. You can have all the hearsay in the world, but that doesn't get you to charges.

The search a premises pursuant to an offense, police have to have reasonable suspicion that:
- A certain offense has been committed
- That there is something that will afford evidence of an offense
- That that thing will be found in a certain premise or location.

The investigator then needs to very carefully and meticulously document that in an applicant to a judge or justice. The judge or justice needs to be satisfied that what the officer has outlined is reasonable in order to issue a search warrant.

There are additional search and seizure powers specific to firearms/weapons- similarly, a justice believes on reasonable grounds, based on the application of a peace officer, that a person has a firearm/weapon/prohib device, and that it is not desirable in the interests of the safety of that person or another person to have them, then similarly a warrant can be issued.

At a minimum for this you would need a witness willing to provide a statement and testify to the facts alleged. If someone comes in and says 'Yeah, I was in this guy's house and saw his guns- I saw a couple semiautomatic rifles and a shotgun', and that person is willing to go on the record, that's a great start. If that's then checked against records that show the person doesn't have a PAL, OK, at this point there's a possibility of getting a search warrant. But again, it can't just be hearsay. The info would need to be recent and credible.

Against the privacy interests of searching a residence, police have to have a pretty reasonable weight of evidence, their suspicions have to be reasonable, and a justice or judge has to be satisfied of these things. Police CANNOT just go in and search based on third hand accounts, hearsay, or mere suspicion not backed with sufficient evidence. There are, of course, further investigative steps that can be taken in cases that fall short of the grounds for a search warrant. That would go in the queue against all the other outstanding maters police in a given jurisdiction have on the go.
 

MilEME09

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Jarnhamar said:
Has there been more information about the 2013 complaint made to the RCMP by Brenda Forbes regarding domestic abuse (assault?) and the illegally owned weapons he was apparently showing off? She alleges nothing was done about it.

Mcleans offers a great break down of that and other questions that have been asked. Short answer is we do not have answers yet. Heck RCMP might not have the answer yet either.

https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/a-nightmarish-crisis-and-the-mistakes-that-may-have-been-made-by-the-rcmp/?utm_medium=organic&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1589499266
 

Jarnhamar

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Thanks Brihard and MilEME09.

There is definitely a pattern of people known or reported to the police with the optics appearing that the police don't act on complaints/do nothing. I'm sure that's not the case but it's clearly an issue that needs to be looked at fixed.

If people kept complaining about Wortman, including domestic assaults and especially illegal weapons, but people were too afraid to speak on the record about it clearly there's one hell of a problem. The police aren't stupid so they had to have known there was something fucked up going on with this guy. Maybe the police are annoyed with people wasting their time (for lack of a better word) making complaints about people but refusing to do it officially or have their name attached.

In any case I think the police that recognize this pattern and they (we) need to figure out a way to do more (and do better).


[quote Short answer is we do not have answers yet. Heck RCMP might not have the answer yet either.[/quote]
If past behavior is an indicator of future behavior there's a strong chance we won't get any answers. Or they'll have to be fought for tooth and nail and there'll be a lot of black marker involved.
 

brihard

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Jarnhamar said:
Thanks Brihard and MilEME09.

There is definitely a pattern of people known or reported to the police with the optics appearing that the police don't act on complaints/do nothing. I'm sure that's not the case but it's clearly an issue that needs to be looked at fixed.

If people kept complaining about Wortman, including domestic assaults and especially illegal weapons, but people were too afraid to speak on the record about it clearly there's one hell of a problem. The police aren't stupid so they had to have known there was something ****ed up going on with this guy. Maybe the police are annoyed with people wasting their time (for lack of a better word) making complaints about people but refusing to do it officially or have their name attached.

In any case I think the police that recognize this pattern and they (we) need to figure out a way to do more (and do better).


[quote Short answer is we do not have answers yet. Heck RCMP might not have the answer yet either.
If past behavior is an indicator of future behavior there's a strong chance we won't get any answers. Or they'll have to be fought for tooth and nail and there'll be a lot of black marker involved.

Just spitballing, not talking about this shooter specifically, but more generally: Let's say that over a few years there are several inconclusive reports about someone like this. Allegations that can never be brought to court, talk of firearms that can't be confirmed... Lots of red flags there for sure. Certainly where there's smoke, there may be fire. Especially where there's domestic violence history, that to me is a very significant potential indicator for future violence. Domestic abusers tend not to desist from violence of their own accord, because up to that point it has clearly worked for them. It's no great leap to go from hurting your partner to hurting others, and someone who feels entitled to control a partner probably feels some entitlement as it pertains to others. Other stuff like civil court records can give behavioural indicators as well.

To target such cases, there would have to be some specific, dedicated investigative work by a team equipped to do so. I could think of a number of methods by which a thorough investigation could unearth evidence that could ultimately lead to a search warrant, but it could potentially be quite a bit of work.

I, for one, would look forward to watching a certain segment of the Facebook mouth breathers explode if RCMP divisions or other police services were to establish 'red flag' investigative teams to go after these sorts of bad seeds.
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=Brihard]

To target such cases, there would have to be some specific, dedicated investigative work by a team equipped to do so. I could think of a number of methods by which a thorough investigation could unearth evidence that could ultimately lead to a search warrant, but it could potentially be quite a bit of work.

I, for one, would look forward to watching a certain segment of the Facebook mouth breathers explode if RCMP divisions or other police services were to establish 'red flag' investigative teams to go after these sorts of bad seeds.
[/quote]

Despite the possible abuses I think I really like a robust red flag system. Domestic abuse, firearms, terrorism, violence.

Your dedicated investigative team would be perfect. The facebook explosions would be adamantly enjoyable but so would catching these people before they hurt others.

We can never prevent someone from doing something completely but I feel like if Wortman was somehow intercepted and possibly dealt with in 2013 this shooting would have had a considerable lesser chance of happening.

Where there's smoke there's fire. We don't hold firefighters back until we see actual flames. The police need more resources to investigate and do something about the smoke.


Something else I just thought about. Brihard you mention police needing proof to go in and do their job and can't just react on complaints.

What about swatting in Canada? It seems like in these cases the police launch based off anonymous complaints.
If I can have my door kicked in while I'm playing video game because an anonymous caller called 9/11 why wouldn't the police be able to kick someones door in when accused of domestic abuse and illegal weapons?
Guessing something to do with immediate threat?
 

Kat Stevens

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Jarnhamar said:
Despite the possible abuses I think I really like a robust red flag system. Domestic abuse, firearms, terrorism, violence.

Your dedicated investigative team would be perfect. The facebook explosions would be adamantly enjoyable but so would catching these people before they hurt others.

We can never prevent someone from doing something completely but I feel like if Wortman was somehow intercepted and possibly dealt with in 2013 this shooting would have had a considerable lesser chance of happening.

Where there's smoke there's fire. We don't hold firefighters back until we see actual flames. The police need more resources to investigate and do something about the smoke.


Something else I just thought about. Brihard you mention police needing proof to go in and do their job and can't just react on complaints.

What about swatting in Canada? It seems like in these cases the police launch based off anonymous complaints.
If I can have my door kicked in while I'm playing video game because an anonymous caller called 9/11 why wouldn't the police be able to kick someones door in when accused of domestic abuse and illegal weapons?
Guessing something to do with immediate threat?

So, Minority Report?  What could possibly go wrong?
 

brihard

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Target Up said:
So, Minority Report?  What could possibly go wrong?

No, police could still only take it to the point of getting a search warrant or laying charges in the event that sufficient evidence of offences is gathered to meet the criteria I satisfied above. We aren't talking about some sci fi 'pre crime' nonsense, we're talking about a focused effort to make better use of existing intelligence holdings to paint a fuller picture and prioritize investigative targets the same way as is currently done in the case of organized crime.

What's being discussed is intelligence led policing aimed at catching those who may have serious behavioural issues and are illegally gathering firearms before they snap. Law enforcement uses the same intelligence cycle and methodology as other fields. I've seen many cases of individuals who were widely known to be 'off', to be aggressive and hostile to others, have likely committed several offences, but victims or witnesses don't want to come forward. I've seen some cases where these individuals did in fact escalate to serious persons offences resulting in their door getting kicked one night, hopefully before someone else was too badly hurt. I've been in the position of acting on this kind of information where we had credible tips of someone having firearms they weren't supposed to have, and having committed acts of violence. It can get friggin' hairy having to deal with that in a remote setting- a call like this had me more scared one night in the woods than anything I ever faced in the military.

I would contend that if there have been credible allegations of domestic violence, credible allegations of someone illegally possessing firearms, and other indicia that someone may not be stable, that's worth some due diligence including seeing if actionable intelligence can be gained to further an investigation. We always hear *after* these events of the multiple little things that people knew, that people had reported... A lot of them could potentially have been intervened with earlier, before it came to this.
 

Jarnhamar

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Nova Scotia mass shooting: New information about murder rampage delayed by government lawyers

Government lawyers admit they are already significantly behind the court’s schedule for releasing information about last month’s Nova Scotia shooting rampage, before they have even begun to do so.

https://nationalpost.com/news/nova-scotia-mass-shooting-new-information-about-murder-rampage-delayed-by-government-lawyers
 

Jarnhamar

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Nova Scotia mass killer was stockpiling weapons, and ammunition before attack, police
Those who knew the gunman told police he talked openly about how to “get rid of a body,” telling people he kept lime and muriatic acid and barrels under his deck, the warrant reveals.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-nova-scotia-mass-killer-was-stockpiling-weapons-and-ammunition-before/


I wonder if they reported this or figured someone else would.
 

daftandbarmy

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Jarnhamar said:
Nova Scotia mass killer was stockpiling weapons, and ammunition before attack, police
Those who knew the gunman told police he talked openly about how to “get rid of a body,” telling people he kept lime and muriatic acid and barrels under his deck, the warrant reveals.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-nova-scotia-mass-killer-was-stockpiling-weapons-and-ammunition-before/


I wonder if they reported this or figured someone else would.

His neighbour is an ex-CAF member and she reported the guns to RCMP. I heard her interviewed on CBC and it was compelling in a 'WTActualF' kind of way:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/mass-shooting-nova-scotia-firearms-gun-violence-1.5567330
 

OldSolduer

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I've read several books by FBI profilers John Douglas and Robert Ressler.

This guy was  a classic spree killer - the cycle between kills was so short and he didn't know or care where he'd end up.

AND he stockpiled weapons and seemed a bit "off" to those around him.

In addition, there was a "precipitating stressor" which is an event that caused the cheese to slide off the cracker. Was it the argument with the girlfriend?

And by all reports everyone knew he had issues.
 

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Something is rotten in the State of Denmark:

The Nova Scotia shooter case has hallmarks of an undercover operation

Police sources say the killer's withdrawal of $475,000 was highly irregular, and how an RCMP ‘agent’ would get money

By Paul Palango, Stephen Maher, Shannon Gormley
June 19, 2020

The withdrawal of $475,000 in cash by the man who killed 22 Nova Scotians in April matches the method the RCMP uses to send money to confidential informants and agents, sources say.

Gabriel Wortman, who is responsible for the largest mass killing in Canadian history, withdrew the money from a Brink’s depot in Dartmouth, N.S., on March 30, stashing a carryall filled with hundred-dollar bills in the trunk of his car.

More at link: https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-nova-scotia-shooter-case-has-hallmarks-of-an-undercover-operation/
 

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Ah, Paul Palango again... Suffice to say you can take most of what he writes on the subject of the RCMP with a considerable grain of salt.

Half a mil would be a pretty massive payment for an agent. If you think someone who’s well known as a cop fetishist with uniforms and cars is going to be able to get in that deep with organized crime... yeah. Also, agents don’t get freebies the way the innuendo in this piece suggests. Nor would police be sending an agent themselves to an institution to pick up their own payment.

For someone who purports to have access to mounties experienced in covert ops, he’s done a pretty lousy job at info gathering. For purposes of critical thinking it’s important to note that Palango has had some sort of axe to grind against the RCMP for many years, as is clear in his writing. Some of his other work on the NS shooting has been equally garbage. I would put little stock in it.

Whatever Wortman had going on, I highly doubt working with the police was among it.
 
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