Late in the evening of Saturday, April 18, 2020, a gunman embarked upon one of the deadliest killing sprees in modern Canadian history.
Thirteen hours later it was over, leaving scars on the rural community of Portapique, N.S., the province and the entire country.
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Twenty-two people lost their lives that weekend. Many more people lost someone they loved.
In Episode 1 of 13 Hours, A Shattered Quiet, we introduce the community of Portapique and several of the victims killed in the first hour of the attack. We’ll introduce the remaining victims in future episodes.
Lisa McCully was a third- and fourth-grade teacher at Debert Elementary School in Debert, N.S. She was 49 years old and a mother of two young children.
Lisa loved teaching music and played all kinds of instruments. She could even play three or four at a time, her sister Jenny Kierstead said.
If there was anyone you would want your kids to spend time with, it was Lisa.
The last photo Lisa sent her sister, on the evening she died, was of her enjoying a glass of wine along the shore in Portapique.
Greg and Jamie Blair were almost never seen apart from one another, family members said. The pair had four children whom they spent as much time as possible with.
Greg, 45, and Jamie, 40, loved the outdoors, hunting, fishing and swimming.
Family members say they had “hearts of gold.”
Greg and Jamie were hard workers, dedicated to their family business and to their roles as hockey parents and volunteers. They were also “the life of the party.”
Corrie Ellison was remembered by friends and family as a thoughtful and a kind friend, the type of person who would go out of his way to help others.
Corrie lived in Truro, N.S., and was visiting his father in Portapique on the weekend of the shootings.
Ashley Fennell, a close friend of Corrie’s, described him as “a beautiful soul.”
Images of the gunman's properties
The “warehouse” is where gunman Gabriel Wortman stored his collection of motorcycles and much of his police memorabilia, including a mock Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) cruiser.
The vehicle, which police have described as a “very real look-alike,” complete with decals and a light bar, was critical to the gunman’s ability to evade detection and remain one step ahead of police during the 13-hour manhunt, the RCMP have said.
The warehouse was among the first buildings the gunman set ablaze on April 18, shortly after he bound and assaulted his long-time partner.
The gunman also set fire to his cottage, plus several vehicles he owned.
The events of April 18 and 19, 2020, have been described in detail by eyewitnesses and police investigators. In order to obtain search warrants as part of the ongoing criminal investigation, police present this evidence in an Information to Obtain (ITO).
The allegations in these documents have not been proven in court. Still, they make up an important part of the public record about what happened before, during and after the killing spree.
Beginning on page 35 of this document is the account of a witness, identified in previous documents as the gunman’s common-law partner. We are calling her Beth to protect her identity.
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