RED DEER COUNTY – The RCMP says it’s unlikely the identity of the deceased intruder into the tragic break-in shooting last week northwest of Penhold will be released to the public.
On Aug. 10, the RCMP released its third update into the burglar shooting death on Aug. 2 that occurred inside a rural residence off the C & E Trail about five kilometres northwest of the Town of Penhold.
“Due to public interest generated by the recent shooting in Red Deer County, Blackfalds RCMP would like to provide more context as to the occurrences that led up to the fatal incident,” said Cpl. Teri-Ann Bakker, a media relations officer with the RCMP Alberta Media Group.
However, in a follow-up interview Bakker said it was doubtful the identity of the deceased would be released to the public.
“Most likely not. When it comes to the deceased, we try to respect the family’s wishes for things like this. (It’s) the same thing for motor vehicle collisions as well. There’s no charges, so there’s no reason to list the names since it’s not going to go public for charges to be laid,” said Bakker, adding that with public interest high about the case the RCMP has decided to release updates.
“Because this one has so much public interest that’s why we’re updating the public in order to gain public trust and just have them understand our timelines, sticking to the facts of the investigation,” she said. “If there is anything that we see in the public realm that is incorrect we just want to make sure that the correct information is out there.”
Last week on Aug. 6, Alberta RCMP announced the region’s Crown prosecutor’s office had decided no charges would be laid in connection to the shooting death of the burglar.
In the RCMP’s third update released on Aug. 10, Bakker said Blackfalds RCMP were dispatched at 9:01 p.m. on July 30 to respond to a report of a suspicious male wandering around a property near Blackfalds.
The male was banging on the side of the house, scaring the occupants, said Bakker in the third update. She said police located the male who said he was looking for the former owner of the property.
After speaking to involved parties, the male was transported back to Red Deer and warned that if he returned to the property he would face charges, said Bakker.
She said at 5:03 a.m. on July 31, Blackfalds RCMP were dispatched back to the same address. Bakker said the same male had returned and was banging on bedroom windows and attempted to gain entry through a door.
The male was arrested for mischief and released from police custody in Red Deer on conditions, and with a court appearance to attend court on Sept. 17, said Bakker.
On Aug. 2 the shooting occurred at 3:07 p.m. Bakker said Blackfalds RCMP were dispatched to the property at 3:11 p.m. and arrived on scene at 3:20 p.m.
In an earlier news release, RCMP said when police officers arrived at the residence, they discovered the homeowner had sustained injuries, while a deceased male was inside with a gunshot wound.
RCMP said last week that witnesses reported the homeowner had arrived home and found the deceased sleeping in the residence.
A confrontation then occurred, with the deceased striking the homeowner numerous times with a baseball bat, said RCMP.
During the attack, the homeowner was able to retrieve a firearm and shot the deceased one time, said RCMP in an earlier news release.
The shooting incident has since triggered a strong response from Premier Jason Kenney, who called for a better community police model on Aug. 6 during a press conference near Bowden to announce agriculture relief funding.
“We all know there has been a rural crime crisis for several years, a huge increase especially in property and increasing violent crimes,” said Kenney. “You saw what happened the other day in Penhold where apparently some meth addict did three home invasions, beat people, a family, with a bat and came back repeatedly and this guy kept getting put back on the street.”
According to data posted online by Statistics Canada, the crime severity index in Alberta declined by nearly 11 per cent in 2020 during the pandemic. The violent crime severity index, which had increased by almost nine per cent from 2018 to 2019, dropped by almost one per cent last year.
“Ultimately it led to the dad having to defend his family and sadly with lethal effect,” added the premier. “We’ve seen too many things like this, especially in rural (Alberta) and one of the issues is unacceptably long police response times. I think we can do better with a community police model.”