Nova Scotia

Victim of N.S. mass shooting owned a property involved in dispute between suspected gunman, his uncle

One of 22 victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia this past weekend bought a property that had previously been the subject of a legal dispute between the suspected gunman and his uncle, court documents show.

Gabriel Wortman provided bridge financing for his uncle to buy the property, court records show

Friends and family of Lisa McCully say she was a natural leader and a passionate mother, sister and teacher. (Submitted by Bonnie Williams)

One of 22 victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia this past weekend owned a property that was once the subject of a legal dispute between the suspected gunman and his uncle.

Lisa McCully has been remembered by friends and family as kind, loving, honest and a "vivacious" woman with a zest for life.

After McCully noticed her neighbour's home in Portapique, N.S., was on fire, she placed her children in the basement and went upstairs to try to help, McCully's sister previously told CBC News.

Property records show that McCully owned a property across the street from one registered to the suspected gunman, Gabriel Wortman, on Orchard Beach Road in Portapique. 

Records show that McCully acquired the property in March 2015. It had been sold to her by three members of the Wortman family, after being bought five years earlier by Glynn Wortman with the help of bridge financing from his nephew, Gabriel Wortman.

A few months after it was sold to McCully, Glynn Wortman took his nephew to court in a dispute over who was entitled to the proceeds of the sale to McCully.

A tribute to the victims who were killed in Portapique, N.S. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Police have not yet revealed the detailed sequence of events that happened on Saturday or Sunday.

Investigators also haven't revealed what the relationship was between the suspected gunman and any of his 22 victims, saying only that some were known to him and were targeted by him, while others weren't known to him.

"We will not be providing more information on how the victims may have been known to Gabriel Wortman," the Nova Scotia RCMP wrote in a question-and-answer statement earlier this week.

Judge ruled in favour of suspected gunman's uncle

In an affidavit filed in court, Glynn Wortman wrote that his nephew helped him buy the Portapique property by providing bridge financing in 2010. The uncle claimed he had repaid that money to Gabriel Wortman and covered the costs of a trip his nephew took to Edmonton to help him sell his condominium.

But according to the affidavit, Gabriel Wortman wouldn't release his name on the title to the property and claimed his uncle still owed him money.

The funds from the sale of the property were held by a law firm until the court sorted out the legal matter.

A July 2015 court order ruled that the proceeds should be "the sole property" of Glynn Wortman. CBC News hasn't yet been able to reach Glynn Wortman.

Wortman previously pleaded guilty to assault

The case is one of two civil matters Wortman was involved in over the last 16 years, according to Nova Scotia court records.

The other, in 2004, involved a residential tenancies board dispute with a tenant at a Mineville, N.S., property Wortman owned.

A residential tenancies officer ruled in favour of the man police have identified as the gunman, terminating the tenancy and ordering that he "be given vacant possession" of the property.

Police have said the suspected gunman did not have a criminal record, but court records also show he previously pleaded guilty to assaulting a male victim in Dartmouth in 2001, when he was 33 years old.

Gabriel Wortman was convicted of assault in 2002, according to court documents. The assault happened in 2001 in Dartmouth. (CBC)

Wortman received a conditional discharge, meaning he wouldn't have a criminal record as long as he followed a number of conditions during nine months of probation, and paid a $50 fine.

The conditions included not possessing weapons and attending counselling and anger management programs, as directed by his probation officer.

If you are seeking mental health support during this time, here are resources available to Nova Scotians.

About the Author

Karissa Donkin is a journalist in CBC's Atlantic investigative unit. Do you have a story you want us to investigate? Send your tips to NBInvestigates@CBC.ca.

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