RCMP Veterans’ Association

RCMP Const. Craig Hubley and the police dog, Dux, in Lunenburg

How an RCMP dog handler shot N.S. mass murderer – Updated, ChronicleHerald – December 18th., 2020

Chris Lambie (clambie@herald.ca)
Published: Dec 10 at 5:34 p.m.
Updated: December 18th., 2020

This article was updated Dec. 18 after a judge lifted a publication ban on the identity of the police officer who stopped Nova Scotia’s mass shooter.

The RCMP officer who shot Nova Scotia’s mass murderer dead at an Enfield gas station this past spring is a “hard worker, diligent, tactically sound, committed and probably one of the best dog handlers that I know,” says a police source who has known him for more than a decade.

Const. Craig Hubley — whose name was banned from publication until Friday — was with another RCMP officer on the emergency response team, who was riding shotgun April 19 with the dog handler. Both men got multiple shots off after Hubley recognized the mass killer, who was exhibiting “the 1,000-yard stare” as he gassed up within a few metres of the Mounties at the Irving Big Stop, said the source.

“He stops to get fuel in his dog truck and he has the wherewithal to be standing there watching his surroundings and he sees the guy,” said the police source.

“They spotted him and their training immediately kicked in and they challenged the guy. And boom, they’re heroes. They stopped the man who killed 22 people, including one of their own.”

Const. Heidi Stevenson was one of 22 people who were killed during a mass shooting in Nova Scotia on April 18 and 19\

Mass killer was injured

Before reaching the Irving Big Stop, the Dartmouth denturist had rammed his fake police car into RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson’s patrol car near the intersection of highways 2 and 224 before killing her and taking her firearm and ammunition.

“He had injuries from his collision with Const. Stevenson,” said the police source.

The injuries weren’t bad, but they were visible, said the source.

The mass murderer appeared to be “making a threatening move,” when the two officers shot him, said the source. “They were concerned for their safety.”

Killer could have ‘slipped away’

Hubley’s observation skills are unique, said the source.

“A lot of people wouldn’t have spotted him and he would have slipped away and gone on killing,” the source said of the dog handler’s observational skills.

“That alone speaks volumes to the kind of officer he is. He’s smart. He’s just switched on, to use one of our phrases. He’s just squared away. He’s got a big police brain.”

By the time he reached Enfield, the mass killer had changed out of the RCMP uniform he had worn during his murderous rampage and was driving a car he’d stolen from one of his 22 victims.

The 22 victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia on April 18 and 19, 2020. From left to right: Top row: Peter Bond, Lillian Hyslop, Tom Bagley, Greg and Jamie Blair, Const. Heidi Stevenson and Lisa McCully. Middle row: Joy Bond, Kristen Beaton, Heather O’Brien, Sean McLeod, Alanna Jenkins, Emily Tuck, Jolene Oliver and Aaron (Friar) Tuck. Bottom row: Joanne Thomas, John Zahl, Joey Webber, Corrie Ellison, Gina Goulet and Dawn and Frank Gulenchyn

The constables who shot the mass killer “are both excellent, outstanding police officers,” said the source.

The province’s Serious Incident Response Team has now completed its investigation of the shooting.

It cleared the two officers involved in a report released Thursday, noting the mass killer raised a pistol before they began firing their weapons.

“Their actions under these circumstances were lawfully justified and not excessive.”

“I’ll tell you right now, they did exactly what had to be done and I’m glad they did,” said the police source.

Dog handlers are supposed to have back-up with them on potentially dangerous assignments, said the source.

“He’s still armed but he needs heavy weaponry with him – lethal overwatch. So that’s why an (emergency response team) member was put in there with him.”

‘Ready to lay down their lives’

Both officers are “solid, true blue cops – they’re ready to lay down their lives,” said the source.

The two Mounties who stopped the mass killer aren’t making a big deal of it, said the source. “It was one of those things where it had to be done. They’re not bragging about it or anything. They’re very humble about it.”

Both officers are “solid guys,” said the police source. “You would want them on a call with you. You would want these (expletive) guys with you on anything. That’s the kind of guys they are.”

SaltWire is not naming the mass killer to avoid sensationalizing the killer involved.

According to court documents released by a judge Wednesday, Dec. 9, the killer’s common-law spouse told Mounties on April 19 “that he was going to the city to get” a woman whose name is redacted from the documents. Halifax Regional Police went to her home and provided security as the killer had not been located at that point.

‘One way or the other’

“Unless (the mass killer) was kneeling down on the road with his hands in the air screaming, ‘I surrender,’ this thing was continuing,” said the police source.

“He had to be taken into custody one way or the other. (The officers who shot him dead) had to do what they did. They had to react. I’m proud of them.”

The killings started in Portapique on April 18, where the Dartmouth denturist had a cottage, after his partner said he snapped. The murderer shot multiple people and set homes on fire.

Dressed in a police uniform and driving a fake police car, he evaded RCMP and killed four more people in Wentworth before heading toward Halifax, killing several more along the way, including at least two women in their cars. Mounties have said they shot him dead April 19 at the Enfield Big Stop. In all, he killed 22 people.

Mounties have faced a lot of criticism from “armchair quarterbacks” over how the force handled the chaotic case, said the police source. “It’s really taking a toll on members who were up there and were ready to give it up that day if they could draw his fire and take him out.”


 

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