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UPDATE: Premier wants better community policing model

Jason Kenney responds at Bowden area press conference to Penhold-area break-in death
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The RCMP's Major Crime’s Unit has completed it investigation into the shooting death of a Penhold-area burglar and has decided that no charges will be laid into the incident. File photo

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the latest information.

RED DEER COUNTY – Premier Jason Kenney called for a better community police model in the wake of the burglar shooting death outside of Penhold on Aug. 2, noting there has been “too many” similar incidents in rural Alberta.

The premier was in the Bowden area on Aug. 6 for a press conference to announce agriculture relief funding when he made his comments related to the shooting incident at a rural residence northwest of Penhold.

“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.”

Earlier 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 who broke into the Penhold-area residence, located off the C & E Trail about five kilometres northwest of the Town of Penhold.

In its updated media release, RCMP said its Major Crimes Unit completed a “substantive investigation” into the incident at the rural residence.

“After consultation with the Crown Prosecutor’s Office, the decision was made that charges will not be laid,” said RCMP Cpl. Susan Richter in the media release.

Richter said Blackfalds RCMP were dispatched to a break and enter in progress at about 3:11 p.m. on Aug. 2.

She said as police officers were en route to the scene, updates were received that one male was injured and bleeding, and another had been shot.

When RCMP arrived at the residence they found the homeowner had sustained injuries, while a deceased male was inside with a gunshot wound, said Richter.

She said witnesses reported the homeowner had arrived home and found the deceased sleeping in the residence.

Richter said a confrontation then occurred, with the deceased striking the homeowner numerous times with a baseball bat. During the attack, the homeowner was able to retrieve a firearm and shot the deceased one time, she said.

Richter said no further updates on the deadly incident are anticipated at this time.

Editors Dan Singleton and Simon Ducatel contributed to this story.