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Sault gunman had 'a lot of' ammunition months before killings

A post found on social media reveals Hallaert was in possession of long gun ammunition earlier this year and was seeking to acquire more

Eight months before he went on a murderous rampage — killing three children, a woman, and wounding another woman before turning the gun on himself — Bobbie Hallaert said he had “a lot of” ammunition he wanted to trade for rounds that matched a different rifle.

In February, Bobbie Hallaert posted in Facebook group Concealed Carry Canada that he had “a lot of” 30.06 Win rounds of ammunition that he was looking to trade for .32 Win Special and 308 rounds, or buy those rounds outright. 

At the time, Hallaert was two months removed from a weapons ban imposed on him after a 2021 conviction for assaulting a Sault Police officer.

Hallaert was a known hunter and the ammunition he was looking to acquire would not be out of place in a hunting expedition. It is unknown how much ammunition he was seeking, if he owned the long guns at the time, or if any of those items were used in Monday’s killings.

The .32 Win Special rounds are intended for use in the Winchester Model 94 lever-action rifle, with maximum efficiency at close range versus similar-sized rounds. The 308 rounds are a standard cartridge used for hunting medium and large game, including moose and grizzly bears.

The 30.06 rounds Hallaert said he owned at the time are used in numerous bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles.

In the ensuing thread that has since had some posts deleted, Hallaert asked about the performance of one of the round types with a Browning semi-automatic rifle.

"How would it fire from a 308 BAR?" he asked.

A February 2023 Facebook post by Bobbie Hallaert, under the name Bob Thomas, seeks to purchase long gun ammunition. Facebook photo

Michael Lafreniere is an administrator for the Concealed Carry Canada Facebook group, which has more than 31,000 members. 

"That is absolutely tragic," said Lafreniere, when asked about his reaction to the killings. "I’ve never seen him post in the group that I recall. We typically delete posts wanting to buy or sell, unless it’s asking info about a place or where to buy."

Even when banned from owning firearms, criminals and people with bad intentions are still able to get firearms from less then lawful means, Lafreniere said.

"If he retained his [Possession and Acquisition Licence] he could go to Canadian Tire and get ammo, they just need to see the card," he said. "They take no info, just like purchasing any non-restricted firearm."

Canada's Firearms Act says a person may transfer ammunition that is not prohibited to an individual only if the individual holds a licence authorizing him or her to possess firearms.

The status of Hallaert's Possession and Acquisition Licence at the time of the killing is unknown.

Sault Police said the 44-year-old was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a Second Line East home on Monday evening. In the same home were three dead children, ages six, seven and 12, and an injured 45-year-old woman. Shortly before that, Hallaert shot and killed 41-year-old Angie Sweeney at a home on Tancred Street.

Two guns were found in the Second Line home after a search warrant was executed at the address: a long gun and a handgun. Sault Police did not provide specifics of the make and model of each weapon or where they were found.

Hallaert was slapped with a one-year weapons ban in December of 2021 as one of the conditions of his probation for pleading guilty in the assault of a Sault Ste. Marie Police officer that occurred two years earlier. That ban, which covered firearms along with 'anything designed to be used of intended for use to cause death or injury or to threaten or intimidate any person,' would have expired just 10 months ago.

A federal handgun ban that went into effect in October of 2022 would have prevented Hallaert from legally acquiring any handgun once his weapons ban was completed two months later.

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Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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