Victim feared Nova Scotia mass killer would come to her home, an hour before he arrived

The latest victim of the Nova Scotia mass shooting knew the killer and told her daughter she was afraid he was heading for her home, about an hour before he arrived in her driveway on April 19, 2020.

A summary document released Wednesday by a public inquiry says Gina Goulet was shot dead around 11 a.m. in her home in the Shubenacadie area, about 60 kilometers north of Halifax, about 10 minutes after a final text message to her daughter Amelia Butler.

The massacre of 22 people had begun the previous night in the rural community of Portapique, 70 kilometers to the northwest, but the killer eluded police, spent the night in an industrial park and continued his rampage.

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According to the text message exchange, also released by the investigation, Goulet had heard and read warnings that Gabriel Wortman, a fellow denturist, was killing people.

“Gabriel, this denturist who wanted me to work for him, he fled with a firearm,” wrote Goulet to his daughter.

Around 9:59 a.m., Goulet wrote: “He knows where I live…. I hope they catch it.

Gina Goulet was shot dead around 11 a.m. at her home in Shubenacadie, about 60 kilometers north of Halifax, about 10 minutes after a final text message to her daughter Amelia Butler.

Gina Goulet was shot dead around 11 a.m. at her home in Shubenacadie, about 60 kilometers north of Halifax, about 10 minutes after a final text message to her daughter Amelia Butler.


Mass Casualty Commission


Initially, the pair discussed how they felt it was unlikely the killer could reach Shubenacadie without being caught, but the text exchange later indicated he was still at large.

“My anxiety just got bad,” the mum wrote at 10:10 a.m., adding that another denturist had just texted her suggesting she keep her doors locked.

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The girl replied at 10:12 a.m.: “I can understand why. I wish I could give you big soft hugs. She also reassured her, “It’s a long drive from there (Portapique) to your house and he should cross the bay (from Cobequid) unnoticed.”

Goulet’s reactions seem to demonstrate how quickly people picked up on any piece of information provided by the police.

At 10:27 a.m., Goulet texted his daughter: “He drives an RCMP type car. It’s wild. Wow,” just 10 minutes after a police tweet revealing Wortman was driving a replica patrol car.

“Do me a favor to give me peace of mind, keep your phone close so I know I can reach you,” the mother wrote at 10:23 a.m.


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As the text messages came and went, Butler noted that there had been warnings that the killer was in Wentworth, north of Truro, and at 10:43 a.m. the girl said the killer had possibly been seen in the Debert and Onslow areas.

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Goulet wrote that she considered going shopping, but the girl suggested it was safer to stay home and wait for the police to catch the killer.

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Goulet’s last texts are chilling, because she tells her daughter: “I’m nervous. I hope they start blocking the roads. She then continued, “As I said, he is a smart man. Almost too smart,” referring to Wortman’s ability to create a replica of the RCMP car.

According to the summary, Goulet tried to call her daughter at 10:58 a.m., but when Butler answered, she didn’t hear her mother’s voice on the other end. She frantically called her back several times.

Minutes earlier, the killer had left the scene of his RCMP constable killings. Heidi Stevenson and Joey Webber, a young man who had stopped by to help. He had headed down Highway 224, toward the main highway to Halifax, driving Webber’s SUV.

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A witness told the public inquiry that Wortman drove past Goulet’s house, but “turned around shortly thereafter and returned to her residence.”

The summary of the investigation indicates that the killer parked the SUV in his garden, out of sight of passing vehicles. A few minutes later, RCMP officers chased after him, watching the entrances as they passed, but from the road they could not see the silver vehicle behind Goulet’s house.

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The assailant is estimated to have stayed at the house for five to 10 minutes, committing the murder before continuing onto the main highway, now driving Goulet’s Mazda.


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Amelia Butler and her husband David Butler left their home at 10:58 a.m. worried about Goulet. They encountered a police roadblock and had to detour before arriving at 11:55 a.m., where the inquest summary states “Butler found Goulet deceased in her home while Amelia Butler called 911.”

According to the family’s statement to the mass casualty commission last August, they felt neglected by the RCMP after the murder.

“In the days that followed, no police ever contacted Amelia and Dave to confirm that Gina was dead. No one approached them to confirm anything. It was obvious to Amelia and Dave that this was what had happened, but no one confirmed it,” the statement read.

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He said this happened even though Amelia and Dave Butler had given at least four police officers their information and phone numbers and asked the police to contact them.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 13, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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