‘All these sweet, innocent people’: As anguish builds over Nova Scotia massacre, glimpses of a killer emerge

HALIFAX—Investigators picked through the charred remnants Tuesday of the house where Sean McLeod and Alanna Jenkins used to fawn over their two-year-old granddaughter, Ellie.The couple loved being grandparents to Ellie so much that they spent the last several weeks urging her parents to have more kids.“They wanted nothing more than to retire with a house full of grand babies,” McLeod’s daughter Taylor Andrews told the Star in an interview over messenger Tuesday.Today, McLeod and Jenkins are dead, and their house in Wentworth, N.S., is one of the 16 crime scenes authorities are searching as they try to piece together a massacre that may never have any meaningful explanation.“I just don’t understand why all these sweet, innocent people were taken from us for no reason,” Andrews said. “What made this man think they deserved to have this happen to them?”And, as the death toll continued to rise for a third day — reaching a staggering 22 victims — the answers to those questions remained elusive. “The investigation is detailed and complex. The investigative team is focused on learning more about this very tragic situation, including accurate victim information and whether others may have aided the suspect,” RCMP said in a statement.Hints emerged piecemeal Tuesday, snapshots from gunman Gabriel Wortman’s past — a 20-year-old assault case, a property dispute with a relative, a confrontation with city police. The ‘authentic police uniform’The RCMP confirmed Tuesday that Wortman had been wearing an “authentic police uniform.” Retired RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German said there are a number of possibilities for how Wortman may have obtained the uniform. He said it’s possible to purchase uniforms online through military surplus-style stores, or from a collector. While sites like eBay do not permit the sale of uniforms, they do allow the sale of items like police patches. Another possibility, he said, is theft. When Mounties retire they’re expected to turn in their uniforms or destroy them, said German, but it’s possible that Wortman got his hands on one that was improperly discarded.Possession of an RCMP uniform is not illegal, said German; it’s the act of impersonating an officer that is illegal.The past assault chargeAs investigators try to build a profile of Wortman, details of his past are emerging.The gunman in Canada’s deadliest shooting massacre had pleaded guilty to assault in 2002, stemming from an incident the victim describes as a bizarre, violent encounter. Court records show Wortman was conditionally discharged over the Oct. 29, 2001 assault of another male in Dartmouth, N.S.He was banned from possessing a weapon for nine months and had to attend “counselling in anger management.” Reached by the Star, the victim of the 2001 assault said Tuesday that he had been waiting for a bus outside Wortman’s Dartmouth clinic, when Wortman came out in a rage, smelling of alcohol, and hit him in the back of the head. “I was 15 and I’m standing outside of his denture clinic on Portland Street. He came outside ... He told me to ‘get off the property,’ and he smelled like booze, grabbed my shirt and punched me in the back of the head,” said Matthew, who asked that his last name not be used, given the notoriety of the case.After charges were laid, Matthew alleges Wortman attempted to bribe him with money to make the charges go away.The confrontation with local policeOne of the more bizarre anecdotes to emerge from Wortman’s past relates to an encounter he had with Halifax regional police in mid-February this year. According to an article published in Frank Magazine, a news, satire and gossip publication, police officers parked an unmarked vehicle in the lot outside Wortman’s Dartmouth denture clinic one day and went somewhere else. The parking lot was reserved for clients. According to the February article, which included several pictures, Wortman ran a chain across the entrance to the parking lot — essentially preventing any vehicles from coming or going. When the officers returned to their vehicle and identified themselves as police, Wortman refused to let them leave. They called in other officers who arrived with bolt cutters, and Wortman relented and unlocked the chains, the article said. Andrew Douglas, Frank’s editor, said Tuesday the magazine published a sympathetic story about Wortman several years ago when he was having a dispute with the city over signage for his business. After the story ran, the city backed off. “I guess he had a warm spot in his heart for Frank Magazine because he contacted us in late February and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got something for you guys.’ ” “One of the first things we asked him was, ‘What do you got against cops?’ ”According to Douglas, Wortman replied: “It’s not about cops. It’s about people parking in my parking lot that aren’t using my business.”The property disputeAccording to Supreme Court of Nova Scotia documents, the shooter and his uncle Glynn Wortman went to court over a long-

‘All these sweet, innocent people’: As anguish builds over Nova Scotia massacre, glimpses of a killer emerge

HALIFAX—Investigators picked through the charred remnants Tuesday of the house where Sean McLeod and Alanna Jenkins used to fawn over their two-year-old granddaughter, Ellie.

The couple loved being grandparents to Ellie so much that they spent the last several weeks urging her parents to have more kids.

“They wanted nothing more than to retire with a house full of grand babies,” McLeod’s daughter Taylor Andrews told the Star in an interview over messenger Tuesday.

Today, McLeod and Jenkins are dead, and their house in Wentworth, N.S., is one of the 16 crime scenes authorities are searching as they try to piece together a massacre that may never have any meaningful explanation.

“I just don’t understand why all these sweet, innocent people were taken from us for no reason,” Andrews said. “What made this man think they deserved to have this happen to them?”

And, as the death toll continued to rise for a third day — reaching a staggering 22 victims — the answers to those questions remained elusive.

“The investigation is detailed and complex. The investigative team is focused on learning more about this very tragic situation, including accurate victim information and whether others may have aided the suspect,” RCMP said in a statement.

Hints emerged piecemeal Tuesday, snapshots from gunman Gabriel Wortman’s past — a 20-year-old assault case, a property dispute with a relative, a confrontation with city police.

The ‘authentic police uniform

The RCMP confirmed Tuesday that Wortman had been wearing an “authentic police uniform.”

Retired RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German said there are a number of possibilities for how Wortman may have obtained the uniform. He said it’s possible to purchase uniforms online through military surplus-style stores, or from a collector.

While sites like eBay do not permit the sale of uniforms, they do allow the sale of items like police patches.

Another possibility, he said, is theft.

When Mounties retire they’re expected to turn in their uniforms or destroy them, said German, but it’s possible that Wortman got his hands on one that was improperly discarded.

Possession of an RCMP uniform is not illegal, said German; it’s the act of impersonating an officer that is illegal.

The past assault charge

As investigators try to build a profile of Wortman, details of his past are emerging.

The gunman in Canada’s deadliest shooting massacre had pleaded guilty to assault in 2002, stemming from an incident the victim describes as a bizarre, violent encounter.

Court records show Wortman was conditionally discharged over the Oct. 29, 2001 assault of another male in Dartmouth, N.S.

He was banned from possessing a weapon for nine months and had to attend “counselling in anger management.”

Reached by the Star, the victim of the 2001 assault said Tuesday that he had been waiting for a bus outside Wortman’s Dartmouth clinic, when Wortman came out in a rage, smelling of alcohol, and hit him in the back of the head.

“I was 15 and I’m standing outside of his denture clinic on Portland Street. He came outside ... He told me to ‘get off the property,’ and he smelled like booze, grabbed my shirt and punched me in the back of the head,” said Matthew, who asked that his last name not be used, given the notoriety of the case.

After charges were laid, Matthew alleges Wortman attempted to bribe him with money to make the charges go away.

The confrontation with local police

One of the more bizarre anecdotes to emerge from Wortman’s past relates to an encounter he had with Halifax regional police in mid-February this year.

According to an article published in Frank Magazine, a news, satire and gossip publication, police officers parked an unmarked vehicle in the lot outside Wortman’s Dartmouth denture clinic one day and went somewhere else. The parking lot was reserved for clients.

According to the February article, which included several pictures, Wortman ran a chain across the entrance to the parking lot — essentially preventing any vehicles from coming or going.

When the officers returned to their vehicle and identified themselves as police, Wortman refused to let them leave. They called in other officers who arrived with bolt cutters, and Wortman relented and unlocked the chains, the article said.

Andrew Douglas, Frank’s editor, said Tuesday the magazine published a sympathetic story about Wortman several years ago when he was having a dispute with the city over signage for his business. After the story ran, the city backed off.

“I guess he had a warm spot in his heart for Frank Magazine because he contacted us in late February and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got something for you guys.’ ”

“One of the first things we asked him was, ‘What do you got against cops?’ ”

According to Douglas, Wortman replied: “It’s not about cops. It’s about people parking in my parking lot that aren’t using my business.”

The property dispute

According to Supreme Court of Nova Scotia documents, the shooter and his uncle Glynn Wortman went to court over a long-simmering housing dispute in 2015, which resulted in the uncle receiving “all proceeds of the sale of the home.”

In the affidavit, the uncle noted that he had bought a property to relocate to Nova Scotia.

To buy the house, Glynn Wortman got financing from his nephew, and intended on providing him with a security interest. The house was put in both of their names.

When Glynn tried to sell the place four years after buying it, Gabriel Wortman complained that he was owed money for helping with the move. As a result of this “debt,” Gabriel Wortman refused to take his own name off the property.

Eventually, after selling the home four years after buying the place, the uncle was given all the proceeds from the sale, according to court documents.

The emergency alert controversy

Meanwhile, controversy remained over the RCMP’s decision to rely on Twitter rather than the province’s emergency alert system to warn the public that Wortman was still on the loose is also coming under scrutiny.

Nova Scotia premier Stephen McNeil said Monday that there was no request from the RCMP to the province’s Emergency Measures Organization to use the system.

On Tuesday, McNeil told CTV Atlantic more could have been done.

“I would say (with) the benefit of hindsight, the depth and breadth of this should have been communicated more widely with a number of our agencies,” he said. “But let’s let that unfold. My main focus right now is to support those families.”

The community ‘where everybody knew everybody’

Also Tuesday, more victims were confirmed.

John Zahl and Elizabeth Joanne Thomas were also identified as victims of the shooting. The retirees, who had come to Portapique from New Mexico, lived in a home next to Wortman’s largest property. Zahl and Thomas were volunteers at a local church.

Joey Webber, who lived in the community of the Musquodoboit Valley was also identified as a victim. Webber had gone on a family errand in the Shubenacadie area when he was killed.

Back in Wentworth, a community where everybody knew everybody, Taylor Andrews said that although she did not know Wortman, McLeod and Jenkins did.

Andrews described McLeod and Jenkins as a couple so perfectly matched, they were practically the same person.

“They both loved being outside, hunting, fishing, being with family and friends,” she said. “They loved going on vacations together. They went multiple times a year.”

The pair met through their work as correctional services officers and built a life together centred on family and friends. It was a life they loved, Andrews said, and she cannot understand why it was taken away.

With files from Alex McKeen, Douglas Quan and Ted Fraser

Steve McKinley is a Halifax-based reporter for the Star. Reach him via email: stevemckinley@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @smckinley1

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Expert: Coronavirus Mental Health Curve Will Take Even Longer To Flatten

The effects on our mental health could be felt long after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

Expert: Coronavirus Mental Health Curve Will Take Even Longer To Flatten

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The effects on our mental health could be felt long after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported Tuesday, there’s a second curve that needs to be flattened.

Stress, loneliness, depression, and fear are now touching millions of Americans. Even what used to be a simple task like going grocery shopping is now a source of anxiety for many.

“I plan days out and check social media to see who has what and if the lines are long, or if they’re stocked or not stocked, and I usually now hit multiple stores,” one woman said.

“Very, very stressful. It’s making my anxiety go up. I feel like I’m going to need a therapist after this,” another woman said.

And she’s not alone.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

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Dr. Robin Goodman is a clinical psychologist in New York. She said the pandemic has become more than a public health crisis. For many, it is traumatic.

“This is a time when people are witnessing or experiencing an event that can be potentially life-threatening, and cause bodily harm,” Goodman said.

MORE: Coronavirus Taking Emotional, Physical Toll On Doctors: ‘I’ve Never Spent So Much Time Crying’

Goodman said for many of us this is the most traumatic event we have witnessed in our lifetimes, and it’s normal to feel a range of emotions.

“When we feel threatened, we may shut down. We may feel helpless. We may feel irritable. We may have trouble concentrating. That is all normal. Think about if you broke your leg, it would make sense that it hurts,” Goodman said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As we all stay home to flatten the COVID-19 curve, the mental health curve will take longer to flatten.

For those who may be experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, Dr. Goodman has three tips:

  • Be aware of how you’re feeling.
  • Acknowledge and accept that it’s okay to have those feelings.
  • And, finally, act.

“Then do something. Maybe it’s to distract. Maybe it’s more screen time. Maybe it’s go bake cookies. Maybe it’s have a dance party. Maybe it’s text your best friend or your mom and check in,” Goodman said.

Since the outbreak started, physicians and therapists have rapidly pivoted to telemedicine. So, there is still access to care, even in a quarantine.

Source : CBS News York More   

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