By Alisa Howlett
TAMWORTH – This village was buzzing with talk Thursday about the fatal shootings that occurred Wednesday evening; although residents said they were shaken, many said they knew the alleged shooter and were not surprised.
Residents identified the shooter as Morton Lewis of Tamworth. The OPP’s Special Investigations Unit, which has been called in to investigate the case, has not confirmed this.
The gun rampage left two men dead – one of them Lewis – and two people in hospital with minor injuries.
It has been widely reported that Lewis fatally shot himself as police officers approached him following the other three attacks. QNet News has been unable to get police confirmation of that.
The identity of the other slain man has not been officially released.
Lewis “was a little off his rocker … he had a mean streak on him,” Charlie Way, a former friend of Lewis, said.
Way said he heard that Lewis had had a disagreement with someone else in town over trapping rights. Lewis trapped beavers and muskrats, he said.
Another resident, who grew up with Lewis, said she didn’t think he would do something like this.
“He was a wild one, that’s all I know. He would do just about anything. He’s unpredictable, but I never thought he would shoot somebody,” Marie Hurlbert said.
Ken Kirkpatrick, the father of a woman injured in the rampage, said Lewis was known around town as a wild man.
He told QNet News Thursday morning that his 45-year-old daughter, Karen Cassidy, was driving home on Lennox and Addington County Road 15 Wednesday night when she encountered a stopped truck in the middle of the road. She put down her window to ask him to move and he asked her for a cellphone or to call 911 because he had “just killed someone.”
Cassidy said she didn’t have a phone and he rammed her vehicle twice, Kirkpatrick said. He then broke the window of her vehicle, got in and choked her, he said.
Cassidy pleaded with him, “Don’t kill me – I have children,” her father said.
The man replied: “So do I, and I’ve already killed somebody.”
Then other vehicles showed up and the man got back into his truck and drove off, he said.
Cassidy was taken to Kingston General Hospital with a broken ankle, Kirkpatrick said. She doesn’t know how she broke it, he said, but thinks the man stepped on it in her vehicle.
Officers with the Napanee OPP were called to the village about 30 kilometres north of Napanee Wednesday around 5 p.m. when the gunman opened fire. Shots were fired at six different locations.
One of the locations was the post office. Vickie Bearance has lived across from it for four years.
“As a mother, I’m very, very scared. Like, terrified, considering we were right across the road – oh yeah, very terrified,” she said.
Bearance didn’t hear the gunshots, but her neighbour came over and said she had heard something. Her neighbour thought it was a knock on the door, Bearance said.
She is still worried and reluctant to let her young children outside, she said.
Other residents told QNet News they are scared, and that they never thought something like this would happen in their small community.
The OPP’s Special Investigations Unit is called in whenever a shooting involves police in some way.