N.S. mass killer’s common-law spouse and 2 men charged with providing ammunition

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N.S. mass killer’s common-law spouse charged with providing ammunition
WATCH: After months of silence on their investigation into the Nova Scotia mass killing, RCMP has announced they've laid charges against three people. One of them the killer's common-law spouse. Jesse Thomas has more. – Dec 4, 2020

RCMP say three people have been charged in connection with the Nova Scotia massacre — one of them the killer’s common-law spouse.

Police say 52-year-old Lisa Diana Banfield, 64-year-old James Blair Banfield and 60-year-old Brian Brewster are facing charges of providing ammunition to the gunman.

In April, gunman Gabriel Wortman went on a 13-hour murderous rampage in rural Nova Scotia, killing 22 people and burning several homes to the ground.

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Some Nova Scotians optimistic mass shooting inquiry will produce results, bring healing

RCMP investigators have said the violence began on the evening of April 18,  when the gunman attacked and bound his common-law spouse Lisa Banfield in their home.

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According to interviews given to the RCMP, she said she managed to escape and hide in a wooded area of Portapique before emerging at 6 a.m. the next morning and running to a neighbour’s home.

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A former neighbor of the gunman had previously reported his history of domestic violence and a collection of firearms to the RCMP years ago and ended up leaving the community herself due to fears of his violence.

Wortman was killed by police on April 19 at a gas station in Enfield.

“Though the gunman is ultimately responsible for his actions, and can never stand trial, we have a duty to investigate by the same standards that we would if he was alive,” said a Friday RCMP release.

His personal relationships were part of the investigation, and police said the evidence that others contributed to the tragic incident by providing ammunition the killer used cannot be dismissed.

Charges relate to offences that occurred “between the 17th day of March and 18th day of April 2020, unlawfully, transferred ammunition, specifically, .223 caliber Remington cartridges and .40 caliber Smith and Wesson cartridges.”

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According to the RCMP, the investigation concluded that Wortman’s ex-girlfriend Banfield and the two men “had no prior knowledge of the gunman’s actions on April 18 and 19.”

The RCMP says it is co-operating in the joint public inquiry into the shooting and will not comment further on incidents relating to the shooting.

The first court appearance for the individuals charged will be Jan. 27, 2021.

— With files from Andrew Russell.

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