Victims’ family raises questions on timeline, gunman’s exit in Portapique inquiry

Harry Bond nonetheless would not know precisely when a gunman killed his mother and father, Pleasure and Peter Bond, a pair who had retired to a quiet nook of Nova Scotia steps from the Bay of Fundy shore. 

Police didn’t uncover their our bodies for about 16 hours, one thing he nonetheless finds troubling. Making issues worse, police didn’t verify their Saturday evening deaths to him till two days later, when he lastly obtained fed up ready for data and drove to Portapique, N.S., from his house a couple of hours drive away.

“I needed to soar in my truck Monday morning and decide up my brother and go down and demand solutions … that is the one motive we came upon Monday afternoon,” Bond stated in an interview.

“Every little thing about this, it is modified my outlook on life. It is modified my outlook on the RCMP, sadly. And that is why this public inquiry — to do the general public inquiry correctly — is so essential. There was errors and they should be taught from them.”

Pleasure and Peter Bond have been killed throughout the taking pictures rampage that killed 22 Nova Scotians. (Fb)

The shortage of religion in establishments — from the police power meant to guard, to the inquiry tasked with inspecting whether or not it failed to take action — has been a standard thread within the practically two years since a person disguised as a Mountie killed 22 folks in April 2020. 

Family members of individuals killed demanded a full public inquiry to get solutions about how the gunman managed to maneuver freely between communities in a reproduction cruiser, his actions a merciless distortion of a logo many, together with a few of his victims, solely related to legislation and order. 

This week, the fee mandated to shine a light-weight on what occurred, in addition to the context and circumstances of the assaults that injured some and left many others deeply affected, will probably be resuming deliberations Monday on whether or not to name particular person front-line officers, and discussing when the commanding officers overseeing the response will probably be known as. 

An RCMP officer talks with an area resident earlier than escorting them house at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S., on April 22, 2021. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

MLA Tom Taggart, who represents the world, stated the primary time he spoke to inquiry workers he informed them they needed to work on constructing belief in the neighborhood. 

However he stated he hasn’t seen that occur. He stated not having solutions about whether or not the gunman’s partner or RCMP officers will testify has “derailed” folks’s religion within the course of. 

“The credibility [of the commission] is shot proper now. Can they get it again? I do not know,” stated Taggart, who was the municipal councillor in April 2020.

Legal professionals for some households have requested 18 officers be known as as witnesses.

“It won’t be a query of if however when” commanding officers will probably be known as, Chief Commissioner Michael MacDonald stated Thursday.  

Some authorized consultants have stated the fee’s trauma-informed method ought to be balanced with the general public’s proper to data.

Taggart stated he is keen to just accept some RCMP officers might have lodging to testify, however he stated testimony is essential. He stated they might be traumatized, however so are the folks he represents.

“They’re the individuals who have been standing of their driveway, watching homes burn and listening to gunshots and questioning what is going on on. These folks have been fairly traumatized, too, and I understood that is what this inquiry was for, to get them solutions,” stated Taggart. 

Members of the family, specifically, have been struggling since April 2020 to know why this occurred, he stated.

“For them to not imagine what they’re being informed, the belief, that may be a problem,” he stated. 

Extra abstract paperwork coming

Over the approaching months, the fee plans to current reviews to the general public on varied features of the lethal rampage — from the identification of victims on the quick avenue the place Bond’s mother and father lived to next-of-kin notifications. The subsequent new report, one centered on the time the gunman spent in a single day in an industrial park in Debert, N.S., is scheduled to be offered on March 9. 

The inquiry has tabled three reports to this point centered on what occurred in Portapique, N.S., the evening Gabriel Wortman attacked his companion after which turned his wrath on neighbours when she escaped.

The inquiry drew on cellphone information, police radio logs and transcripts of interviews with the group members and cops, a few of that are additionally posted publicly.

But there are nonetheless gaps and unknowns within the data offered to this point by the fee.

Amongst them, the precise path the gunman took whereas focusing on the 13 neighbours he killed. The fee described doable situations for when the gunman went to the Bonds and to the house of the neighbours — Jolene Oliver, Aaron Tuck and their daughter, Emily Tuck.  

It urged the gunman could have crisscrossed the agricultural subdivision and used trails reduce on his personal property.

Joshua Bryson is a lawyer for the household of Pleasure and Peter Bond, who have been killed at their house in Portapique on April 18, 2020. (CBC)

Bond stated he nonetheless needs readability. The lawyer representing his household, Joshua Bryson, informed the fee the timeline is a “massive difficulty” for his purchasers as a result of, till a few month in the past, it was hypothesized the Bonds have been killed after Corrie EIllison was shot round 10:39 p.m. AT.

However that has since modified, for the reason that fee’s timeline now means that they have been killed earlier than Ellison, someday between 10:05 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. The timeline continues to be in “a state of flux” and proof from Lisa Banfield, the gunman’s partner, can seemingly provide help in forming the timeline based mostly on what she heard or noticed, Bryson stated.

He additionally stated it is essential to listen to extra from the RCMP on why the primary workforce on the bottom, or different officers all through the evening, by no means went to Cobequid Court docket the place the Bond and Tuck households lived.

“It is life, there’s going to be gaps. However proper now, I really feel there’s gaps being made that could possibly be closed,” Harry Bond stated final week. 

Again highway out of Portapique

The route is way from the one excellent query. 

Regardless of studying there was a again highway out of Portapique, N.S., within the first half hour of being on the scene, it is not clear how the RCMP used that data and if it impacted their response.

Const. Vicki Colford spoke to Kate MacDonald, who was in a automotive along with her husband when the gunman fired at them. Whereas they waited for an ambulance, MacDonald defined that the agricultural subdivision had a again exit on a non-public highway.

The six containment factors round Portapique that have been arrange by RCMP the evening of April 18 and early morning hours of April 19, 2020. (Mass Casualty Fee )

At 10:48, Colford radioed to her colleagues:

“Millbrook, if you happen to guys need to take a look on the map, we’re being informed there is a highway, sort of a highway that somebody might come out, earlier than right here. Ah, in the event that they know the roads nicely.”

Nevertheless it wasn’t till midnight that officers have been stationed on Freeway 2 east of Portapique Seashore Highway. Within the first hour and a half of the police response, police arrange two containment factors additional west of Portapique Seashore Highway. A pair moved to Brown Loop, to which the blueberry discipline highway connects, at 5 a.m.. 

One future doc the fee is making ready will concentrate on selections made by the RCMP officers overseeing the response. 

‘Each minute issues’

Legal professionals have additionally questioned the accuracy of the timing urged by the fee concerning a household who noticed car headlights driving alongside the blueberry discipline that Saturday evening. 

It is also doable — based mostly on GPS knowledge from automobiles — that an officer racing to the scene drove previous the gunman round Nice Village, N.S. Const. Chris Grund, one of many two officers responding from the Millbrook detachment, stated he had no reminiscence of seeing that automotive throughout a later interview with the fee. 

Michael Scott, a lawyer with Patterson Regulation who represents households of extra that half of the folks killed, stated that is a part of the explanation his purchasers need Grund to reply additional questions. 

He stated the fee’s perception that the gunman drove out of Portapique round 10:45 p.m. relies on blurry surveillance footage of the duplicate cruiser passing a fuel station in Nice Village shortly after. 

If Grund did not see what gave the impression to be a marked cruiser with out its lights on travelling greater than 100 km/h in the other way, it is doable the automotive wasn’t there at the moment, Scott stated. 

“In that a part of the timeline, we’d counsel that each minute issues. As a result of each minute that that containment level was not contained, is one other alternative to cease the perpetrator earlier than he moved out into the group,” Scott stated throughout final week’s hearings. 

In response, Patricia MacPhee, a lawyer for the Division of Justice, stated Grund did deal with this query already, including “there isn’t any hole that may require his look right here.”

Son hopes victims stay first in folks’s minds

Harry Bond was among the many members of the family who requested the fee final week to show pictures of the folks killed on the display so that individuals watching might put faces to names. The fee stated not all households have been in favour of this, in order a compromise it projected folks’s names on display originally of proceedings. 

He stated it is essential for folks to recollect the folks killed have been good individuals who have been cherished and deserved higher. 

Bond stated his father could possibly be powerful, however stated he formed his two sons into the boys they turned.

“Mother and Dad have been keen to assist anyone,” he stated. “Mother will probably be remembered for her kindness, loving in the direction of children, her smile, her one-of-a-kind snort. I miss that, I actually miss that.”

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