The RCMP have charged the common-law spouse of the gunman in Nova Scotia’s mass shooting and two other people with supplying the gunman with ammunition.
Investigators concluded that Lisa Banfield, 52, James Banfield, 64, and Brian Brewster, 60, provided rifle and handgun cartridges, purchased in Nova Scotia, to the gunman, according to a news release issued by the RCMP on Friday.
All three face charges of unlawfully transferring ammunition, but are said to have had “no prior knowledge of the gunman’s actions on April 18 and 19.”
In April, the gunman shot and killed 22 people and injured three others in several Nova Scotia communities over two days, the largest mass shooting in Canadian history. A joint public inquiry into the shooting was launched by the province and the federal government in October.
Lisa Banfield is named in a statement of claim filed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court by victims of the shooting, referred to as “a woman with whom (the gunman) then or formerly had an intimate relationship.” That statement also calls Banfield the gunman’s first victim, saying he assaulted her, and she escaped, hid in the woods, and later called 911 and reported that he had a police uniform and vehicles.
In her own claim against the estate, Banfield states she and the gunman were “in a common-law relationship” and that she was “the victim of an assault and battery” and was “falsely imprisoned” the night of April 18. The claim states Banfield has “suffered physical, emotional and psychological injuries and trauma” as a result.
“Through thousands of hours of investigative work by hundreds of RCMP employees, we determined as much as possible the gunman’s actions and his motivation and how he obtained the equipment he used,” RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell wrote in Friday’s news release.
The charges are part of a larger investigation, titled Operation H-Strong, into the mass shooting in April by Gabriel Wortman.
“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,” Campbell wrote.
“In an investigation, there is no room for speculation. Every piece of information we uncovered and received was analyzed, fact-checked and corroborated in order to assess the weight, validity and value of the information.”
Operation H-Strong seeks to piece together the gunman’s “actions, motives and the potential for others’ involvement,” Campbell wrote.
The RCMP aren’t commenting on the shooting outside of the public inquiry, according to the release.
Asked about the charges during Friday’s COVID briefing, Premier Stephen McNeil said “any questions about that should go to the RCMP.”
About the author
Simon Smith is a multimedia journalist with The Signal in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is an avid traveller and is interested in local news, business,...