In April of this year, a gunman took the lives of twenty-two innocent people and injured three others. The gunman’s actions devastated families and forever changed the lives of many.
April 18 and 19 will remain etched in Nova Scotians’ minds. Days of devastating loss were followed by months of heartache. People across the world grieved with Nova Scotians while also admiring the Maritime resilience and ability to rally around one another with support, compassion and generosity.
The tragic incidents spurred an investigation titled Operation H-Strong. Investigative teams were dedicated and worked tirelessly on this investigation to provide answers for the victims, their family members and the public.
Though the gunman is ultimately responsible for his actions, and can never stand trial, we have a duty to investigate by the same standards that we would if he was alive. In an investigation, there is no room for speculation. Every piece of information we uncovered and received was analyzed, fact checked and corroborated in order to assess the weight, validity and value of the information.
Through thousands of hours of investigative work by hundreds of RCMP employees, we determined as much as possible the gunman’s actions and his motivation and how he obtained the equipment he used. You will find previously released information about these aspects of the investigation on our website.
Our investigative objective was also to determine inquiries, actions and standards also centred on gathering evidence to determine what role any individual may have played in terms of having knowledge of the gunman’s plan or having assisted him in any way.
In light of the evidence gathered during the course of the investigation, today we have charged three people in relation to providing the gunman with ammunition.
Throughout the investigation, we have been mindful that when we release information publically, it causes distress for families and others closely associated to those who lost their lives or were injured. Through the assigned RCMP Family Liaison Officers, families have been notified of these charges.
The gunman’s relationships with others was very much a part of this investigation and, as with every piece of information, were analyzed as we pieced together the gunman’s actions, motives and the potential for others’ involvement. As a police agency we cannot, however, dismiss evidence from the investigation that others contributed to the incidents by providing the gunman with the ammunition he used on April 18 and 19.
Today we have charged the following individuals:
• James Blair Banfield, 64-years-old of Sackville
• Lisa Diane Banfield, 52-years-old of Dartmouth
• Brian Brewster, 60-years-old of Sackville
For the following offences: between the 17th day of March and 18th day of April 2020, unlawfully, transferred ammunition, specifically, .223 caliber Remington cartridges and .40 caliber Smith and Wesson cartridges, contrary to Section 101 of the Criminal Code.
Based on the investigation to date in which those charged cooperated, these individuals had no prior knowledge of the gunman’s actions on April 18 and 19. In addition, investigators have determined the ammunition was purchased and trafficked in Nova Scotia.
We thank our employees who responded to the incidents of April 18 and 19 for their courage and commitment to public safety and all who have spent thousands of hours working on this investigation for their dedication and resolve.
We will continue to work with the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service and our Family Liaison Officers will maintain their relationships with victims’ families to support them however we can.
We recognize there may be outstanding questions about what transpired this past April. To ensure a fair trial for those who have been charged and with the public inquiry now ongoing, the most appropriate and unbiased opportunity to provide any additional information is to do so with our full participation in the inquiry. The RCMP will respectfully refrain from further commenting on these matters outside of the inquiry.