RCMP in Portapique at the time of the killing, April 2020 (archives).
< p class="e-p">The senior Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer in the district where the Nova Scotia mass shooting took place says he stayed home during the events, because the presence of x27;a “white collar” in the command post would have caused confusion.
In his interview last month at the Public Inquiry, Archie Thompson, who retired about six months after the April 18-19, 2020 murders, said that if he had left his home at about 90 kilometers south of the command post and driven to the scene, it would have raised questions about who was leading the operation.
At the time, the The veteran officer had been Superintendent in Charge of the Northeast Nova Scotia District of the RCMP for almost four months and he wore the white shirt of a commissioned officer.
In his interview published Friday by the Inquiry, Mr. Thompson described the difficulties of reaching his second in command for the district, Staff Sergeant Steve Halliday, by telephone during some of the tense moments then. that the killer was driving a replica police car on April 19 and continuing his murders in the Wentworth area.
Twenty-two people, including a pregnant woman, died before the police shoot the attacker at a gas station in Enfield, Nova Scotia.
Mr. Thompson said his notes showed that at 9:52 a.m. on April 19, Mr. Halliday texted him saying “shots fired” and then was unable to provide a response. another update, as it was busy. Mr. Thompson said that more than an hour later, at 10:57 a.m., Mr. Halliday sent another message that they had major problems and called his commanding officer 15 minutes later with instructions. information on additional deaths.
However, Mr. Thompson pointed out that being present at the command post where Mr. Halliday was assisting Master Sergeant Jeff West, the Critical Response Commander, would not have helped.
“I wouldn't want to do that and get into the investigation. The rank, the color of the uniform tends to have an impact when I show up.
Although the retired superintendent said his role was to advance resources if needed, he said he had heard throughout the night that RCMP officers at the scene had enough of staff.
When asked by commission counsel if he had to be on the scene to determine this, Mr. Thompson replied that he didn't believe that would be normal procedure.
Mr. Thompson's interview also indicated that he was among those invited by Mr. Halliday on the morning of April 19 to inform the public that police had learned that the killer was armed and driving a replica of the RCMP vehicle.
Mr. Halliday testified in May that he confirmed the replica vehicle was still missing at 7:55 a.m. on April 19 and noted at around 8 a.m.: This needs to be communicated to [RCMP] members, all municipal agencies, police departments and border crossings and we need to make it public as soon as possible.
Mr. Thompson's notes indicate that at 8:22 a.m. he and Mr. Halliday discussed the need to ensure this information was made public, and six minutes he later called Chief Superintendent Chris Leather, the province's second-highest ranking officer, to provide an update and get the number for Lia Scanlan, the director of strategic operations.
Mr. Thompson said he called Ms. Scanlan at 8:39 a.m. and informed her of the identified police car, and she agreed to call a sergeant at the command post. Mr. Thompson told the attorney in charge of the public inquiry that he then left the case to him and that it was the responsibility of his department.
Mr. Halliday testified in May to his surprise that the message about the vehicle was not released to the public until 10:17 a.m., more than two hours after his notes were recorded requesting it.
< p class="e-p">Lawyers for the family members criticized the delay, noting that during those hours at least six people were killed on April 19.
L& The investigation said the precise role Mr. Leather may have played in the delay is unclear, and in a summary released on May 17, it was made clear that the investigation was continuing into Mr. Leather's role in this case. He is expected to testify next week.