Who is the Canadian mass murderer? Gabriel Wortman

Gabriel Wortman had a practice as a denturist in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. But since his school days, he was also obsessed with everything to do with the police. Wortman started a twelve-hour murder fear on Saturday evening, in police uniform, and a fake police car. He shot at least sixteen people in a radius of 100 km. It may or may not be a coincidence on April 19, the day terrorist Timothy McVeigh committed a bomb attack 25 years ago, killing 168 people. Agents were able to eliminate Wortman permanently. He was 51.

Sixteen dead, seventeen with the perpetrator. That’s the biggest massacre ever in Canada. The perpetrator: a 51-year-old denturist or dental prosthetics from Portapique, owner of the Atlantic Denture Clinic, a practice with branches in Dartmouth and Halifax. A denturist makes and puts removable dentures in patients. But Gabriel Wortman was also a man with a special hobby. He bought up memorabilia from the arm of the law, like old police cars, which he then refurbished. Gabriel liked to unpack them with his clients. He certainly had two police cars parked at the back of his practice.

The car with which Gabriel Wortman started his murderous journey since Saturday at 22:00 local time, was very similar to a police car. The man at the wheel was also wearing a police uniform. Apparently, Gabriel had prepared for the murders, in line with his obsession with police matters.

In July 2014, Wortman made positive news. He then gave dentures to a woman from Halifax who had survived cancer but lost her teeth because of the medication. Gabriel then said that many people who really need dentures are left out.

According to the neighbors of Gabriel Wortman, the man had a drinking problem. The corona pandemic forced him to close his practices in mid-March. He owned two large properties on Portapique Beach Road, where he started murdering on Saturday night.

Gabriel Wortman's car looked like a replica of a real police car. Later he switched to a Chevrolet.
©EPA – Gabriel Wortman’s car looked like a replica of a real police car

Portapique is located about 120 km north of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. According to Nathan Staples from the nearby Great Village, Wortman’s home was a kind of “shrine” in honor of Canadian police. A few months ago, Gabriel asked Staples if he would not sell his second-hand police car in his garden.

“He was such a freak, who was very fond of police memorabilia,” said Staples. A neighbor also called him “a kind, helpful man” from whom she “never expected such tragedy.”

Gabriel Wortman graduated from Riverview High School in New Brunswick in 1986. His year’s photo album states that he loved “riding one wheel with his Honda XR 500R”, that he loved skiing and hitching a ride with his friends. He did not like cold and English lessons. “Gabe’s future may include being an RCMP officer,” it said. Gabriel Wortman went for an undertaker but eventually became a dental prosthetician or denturist. A successful one, according to his neighbors. They claim he was a millionaire.

TV presenter Candy Palmater considered Wortman one of her best friends at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, where they both studied in the late 1980s. “My other friends usually didn’t like him, but I didn’t care,” said Palmater.

The Atlantic Denture Clinic, Gabriel Wortman's denturist practice in Dartmouth.
©AP – The Atlantic Denture Clinic, Gabriel Wortman’s denturist practice in Dartmouth.

“We were inseparable for a year. I always had the feeling that he was not feeling well, but I thought he would outgrow it.”

“Gabriel always had something sad about him, but I was shocked to learn that he had hurt others. I don’t know what his adult life was like, but at least they weren’t nice to him at university,” added Palmater, who said he was being bullied.

Also, a customer, who wants to remain anonymous, told the Scallywag and Vagabond that Wortman and his partner, who also worked professionally with him, were very sympathetic. “They seemed very happy together,” said the woman.

A younger school friend recalled Gabriel Wortman’s fascination with air guns, which they began practicing as teenagers.


The mass murderer did not have a criminal record and was not known to the police as violent. Nothing is known about his motive. However, the US does fear April of this kind of atrocity. They see April as the start of the murder season.

The school massacre in Columbine (1999), the attack on a federal state-building in Oklahoma City (1995), the Virginia Tech school shooting (2007), the FBI raid on the David Koresh sect in Waco, Texas. (1993), the Boston Marathon bombings (2013), the Pennsylvania mass stabbing (2014), they all happened in April.

Yesterday was exactly 25 years ago when Timothy McVeigh struck a terrible bombing of a government building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. McVeigh himself didn’t haphazardly choose that date: The FBI’s invasion of Waco – despised by McVeigh – had happened two years earlier, in 1993, on April 19. Extremists also like American Patriot’s Day. This falls today, on Monday, April 20, also the birthday of Adolf Hitler.

Mass murderer Gabriel Wortman.
©BSR Agency – Mass murderer Gabriel Wortman.

The Globe and Mail
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