Maine man who bought rifle later used in N.S. shootings lied to police about purchase

A Maine man admitted to lying to an RCMP investigator about the day he went to a gun show and bought a high-powered rifle with Gabriel Wortman, who used the carbine a year later when he killed 22 people in Nova Scotia, new documents released. show.

New details on how the shooter obtained the gun are included in a report released Tuesday morning by the public inquiry into the April 2020 massacre. The gunman never had a firearm license and smuggled three weapons into Canada from Maine.

Transcript of RCMP interviews, released for the first time without a transaction, sheds light on how the shooter bypassed authorized dealers and arranged a cash auto sale of a firearm. Colt Law Enforcement’s semi-automatic 5.56 mm carbine at a gun show in Houlton, Maine, in April 2019.

In the weeks following the shooting, police spoke to gun dealers and Neil Gallivan, a man who lives outside of Houlton and went to a gig with Wortman last spring.

‘I’m sorry…for the lies’

Gallivan originally stated in an interview with RCMP Sgt. Fraser Firth that he doesn’t remember the details of that Saturday morning, declined to go to the event with Wortman and then backed off several times during the interview.

Gallivan had previously spoken to US investigators. He finally admitted to going to the show with Wortman, whom he had known for two decades.

“I tried to save my skin because I knew it was going to be in big trouble,” he tells Firth of his earlier rejections. “I’m sorry for ah, for that – for the lies.”

It is illegal for an American to transfer, sell, buy, sell, gift, transport, or deliver a firearm to someone he or she knows is not a resident of the United States, but CBC News investigation finds allegations unlikely for those who provided the gunman with some of his weapons.

Gallivan was a lifelong friend of Sean Conlogue of Houlton. Both men told police they met Wortman through Tom Evans, a now deceased attorney from Fredericton. Over the years, they all spent time together at a camp 40 kilometers south of the border town.

Conlogue has acknowledged him as the source for two handguns the shooter appears to have used. Conlogue said he gave one as a gift and told police Wortman had taken the other from his home.

But while details have previously emerged about those two weapons, the filing released Tuesday provides more information on the semi-automatic rifle.

The gunman was a regular at his friend Sean Conlogue’s home in Houlton, Maine. Neil Gallivan told RCMP he went to Conlogue’s before and after buying a large capacity rifle at a gun show with shooters in April 2019. (Eric Woolliscroft / CBC)

In his interview with RCMP, Gallivan went on to explain that on April 27, 2019, he stopped by Conlogue’s house to watch about going to see the show together. But since Conlogue was recovering from an operation and Wortman was there to help, Gallivan went with the gunman instead.

It seems Wortman admired the gun in the morning but couldn’t afford it, so he and Gallivan returned to the arena around noon, at which point Gallivan bought it for cash in a private sale. .

“It was really quick and a little dirty. And I brought the gun back and gave it to Sean,” Gallivan said, according to a transcript.

‘You’re selling him out’

In his RCMP interview, Gallivan was adamant that Conlogue had given him about $1,250 in cash to buy an “AR rifle” and that he thought he was helping his friend by buying it.

At one point, he speculated that Wortman had stolen the rifle from Conlogue, but later said he had no idea how the gun ended up in Nova Scotia.

“I won’t sell it to [Wortman] Anyway, I would never do that… how did he get it across the border? “Gallivan said at one point. “I’m not doing anything wrong, just trying to be a good friend to everyone”.

Firth pressed him to tell the truth, pointing out that Conlogue was essentially bedridden at the time due to his surgery.

“You’re going to sell him out if you walk out of this room and make it look like Sean … more involved,” Firth said.

The RCMP has no authority to enforce US law, and Firth told Gallivan that the Mounties are “not interested in pursuing Canadian charges against you.” Earlier the same day, an RCMP investigator told Conlogue that they did not want to hold him accountable.

Based on Mounties’ comments in both interviews, they were in constant contact with American investigators while conducting their own interviews in Maine.

The search warrant documents outline how the shooter was using a Colt Law Enforcement 5.56 mm semi-automatic carbine, which originated in Maine in 2019. (CBC News / Illustrated)

Gallivan asserts that after the purchase was completed, they all looked at the gun together at Conlogue’s home, and that they later visited Gallivan’s property and Wortman practiced shooting it.

In his interview with RCMP, Conlogue said he doesn’t remember much about that day due to his health problems. He said Wortman had paid for the gun and he saw him counting money at a table in his house. He did not mention going to Gallivan restaurant.

Gallivan said he knew the situation in which he encountered the police was “his damn fault” and repeatedly said he had no idea what Wortman was capable of. Near the end of his RCMP interview, he suggested that he gave the gun to Wortman.

“I found the gun, I gave it to… Gabriel and he killed people with it. It was horrible,” Gallivan told RCMP. “I never intended it to be that way.”

Few papers

One of the organizers of the gun show told CBC News that all authorized gun dealers are required to undergo an FBI background check, but a public investigation found that carbine sellers did not. there and has limited paperwork.

The two men spoke to police about selling the rifle. One of them was the owner of the gun and the second man, Don Dematteis, was helping at the gun booth.

The Houlton Rifle and Pistol Club’s 31st annual gun show was held from April 27-28, 2019. One of the organizers said about 700 people passed through the arena over the course of the weekend. (Houlton Rifle and Pistol Club / Facebook)

Dematteis later identified Wortman to police as a man who approached him in the morning to buy a gun. He said he refused to sell it because the potential buyer admitted he didn’t live in Maine, according to a summary of his interview released by the public inquiry.

He recounted that a few hours later, he sold the rifle to a man in his 60s with a Maine driver’s license. Dematteis said he gave the buyer a receipt but couldn’t remember the name.

Police recovered the semi-automatic carbine from the stolen Mazda 3 the gunman was driving when he was killed in Enfield, NS They discovered the gun’s switch selector had been lit. It was equipped with a flashlight and an overloaded magazine that held 25 rounds.

The public investigation revealed that based on forensic analysis, the gunman used the rifle multiple times during the rampage.


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