What I Learned From the Nova Scotia Shootings
From the night of April 18 to the morning of April 19, 2020, a lone gunman shot and killed 22 people in the small province of Nova Scotia. This became the largest ever massacre in Canada’s history.
Like everyone else, I was in shock. For the next 4 days, I combed through articles, videos and social media trying to piece together this senseless act. What prompted this seemingly spontaneous killing spree and how was the gunman able to evade the law for so long?
It had started the evening of Saturday, April 18, 2020. Gabriel Wortman and his long-time girlfriend, were at a party near their home in Portapique, a small rural community in Nova Scotia. After an altercation, Wortman and his girlfriend returned to his home. He assaulted and handcuffed her, then set fire to the home before returning to the house party. The unsuspecting guests at the party had no idea what was in store as he began his shooting spree, killing the first seven people. For more than 13 hours, Wortman set fires tof homes and killed people while he travelled through the province undetected. Wearing an authentic police uniform and driving a replica police cruiser, Wortman evaded the police who were using every available method to stop him.
During my hours of research, I sensed there was something I was still looking for. I just wasn’t exactly sure what it was. A piece of the puzzle that wasn’t obvious at first. I watched, listened and read until it seemed I had ingested all the available information. But then I found it. A short video clip, a 3 minute interview, revealed what I had only subconsciously hoped to uncover.
Healing Streams International, a church in Truro, Nova Scotia was going to livestream its Sunday morning service, when it was revealed that an active gunman was in the area. Pastor Steve McEvoy received an urgent text from his daughter just as the stream went live. The church service quickly turned into a prayer meeting.
“We were taking authority over the enemy’s working to influence him… and at one point in my prayer I just said, ‘In Jesus’ name STOP NOW! And we just demand the spirits of darkness that are interfering with his thinking, You Stop in Jesus’ name.’ So, we were not praying ‘fluffy’ prayers,” said Pastor Steve, “We just started laying hold of it at the point very assertively that ‘This is done!’”
At the same time the church service went on the air, an Emergency Response team decided to take a quick break to fuel their vehicle. By then the gunman had changed clothes (as shown on a video surveillance camera). He had also abandoned his mock police cruiser and hijacked a silver colored SUV. As the ERT member stepped out of his vehicle at the gas station, he glanced up at the pump beside him and saw the killer. The gunman had also stopped to re-fuel. When Wortman detected the police presence, he pulled his gun, but was shot and killed by the officer.
The rampage had lasted 13 hours creating a horrific scene this country has never experienced in 153 years. And yet, just moments after church members take action, it ends. How? They used the authority given to believers in Luke 10:19 to ‘overcome all the power of the enemy’ (NIV). They did what Jesus did when He spoke to the fig tree (Mark 11:14), He commanded the storm (Mark 4:39) and He rebuked the fever (Luke 4:39). After all, he said in John 14:12 ‘whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these’ (NIV).
I put a note in the back of my daytimer; “Spirit trumps Flesh”. It’s a reminder of the power that we have available to us as believers. After all, Romans 6:10 says that ‘the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead dwells in you.’ We just have to believe it and learn how to operate in it. It is how we change the world.