NEW DETAILS: Worst massacre in Canada’s history began as domestic dispute, police say

The mass shooting that killed 23 people in Canada last weekend began as an argument between the gunman and his girlfriend, who was also wounded but survived, police said.

Officials with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia, where the rampage happened, confirmed late Thursday the attack stemmed from a domestic dispute, according to The Associated Press.

The massacre now ranks as the deadliest in Canada’s history.

Police planned a news conference later Friday that was expected to provide further details about how the rampage unfolded.

Police said 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, who ran a denture clinic near Halifax, carried out the attacks in the town of Portapique on Saturday night before police shot and killed him about 12 hours later at a gas station in Enfield, 22 miles away.



Reports say the gunman disguised himself as a police officer and that his car was made to look like a Royal Canadian Mounted Police cruiser. At one point during the crime spree, the perpetrator switched to the vehicle in which he died.

Authorities believe the shooter targeted his first victims but then began attacking randomly as he drove around.

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A 23-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and an elementary schoolteacher were among the victims.

There were 16 crime scenes in all, five of which were in rural areas throughout northern and central Nova Scotia, the AP reported. Police said he shot people in and around their homes and set several houses on fire.

Bodies were found at a house in Portapique and in four other surrounding communities.

The AP reported Wortman’s Atlantic Denture Clinic had been closed the last month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country’s previous worst mass shooting was in 1989, when Marc Lepine shot 14 women and himself to death at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique college.

In 2018, a man drove a van along a busy Toronto sidewalk and killed 10 people and injured 16. That case is still awaiting trial.