Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 02/3/2013 3:18 PM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 02/3/2013 4:59 PM | Updates
A weekend shooting is the second in three months on the Long Plain First Nation and both are thought to be drug related, said a family member of the latest victim.
The victim remains at Health Sciences Centre in critical condition after being shot in the head at close range in the bizarre attack early Saturday morning on the First Nation near Portage la Prairie
RCMP issued a statement Saturday about the incident but haven't issued any updates. They would not confirm reports Sunday that one person has been arrested in connection with the attack.
Chief David Meeches confirmed RCMP have one person in custody and they are still looking for others.
"There has been an arrest and they’re following up on leads for other persons of interest," Meeches said.
The chief said RCMP have not made him aware of a link to drugs or an earlier shooting in November.
Word of the arrest, however, spread fast on the First Nation, easing the initial shock and apprehension about an armed gunman wandering the community, he said.
"We have 2,100 people and it’s a small community... Everybody is aware of what happened and who’s involved. I’m encouraging everyone to remain calm," the chief said.
Portage la Prairie RCMP were called to a home about 1:30 a.m. Saturday on the First Nation, located 27 kilometres southwest of Portage.
Doctors are keeping the victim under heavy sedation and the biggest concern is swelling on the brain, relative Peter YellowQuill said Sunday.
YellowQuill said he and other members of the family believe drugs are behind shootings like this one and one linked to a police shooting in November of a 28-year old man.
"In the last 15 years, crack and crystal meth have flooded into the community and this thing has been festering. It’s difficult to deal with. We’re trying to talk to the young people not to get into the gangs but it’s hard core now," he said.
RCMP have not said how the November shooting occurred, only that RCMP shot a man armed with a baseball bat after a house party spiraled out of control.
The Regina Police Service is the external police agency investigating that incident.
This weekend's shooting occurred at the home of the victim’s father, who was also targeted but escaped unharmed, YellowQuill said.
Four young men, including a couple who appeared to be in their teens, knocked on the victim's father's door about 1 a.m. Saturday asking to come in out of the cold.
Once inside, one of the four pulled a gun and shot the victim in the head, YellowQuill said.
The victim lives in Winnipeg but was visiting his father at the time.
"It’s a very serious, serious injury, a shot to the head. One of them had what appeared to be a sawed-off .22," YellowQuill said.
Peter’s wife, a Christian pastor in the community, was called immediately to the house.
When Sheila YellowQuill arrived she found her cousin on the floor bleeding heavily from the head, but responsive. The older man, her uncle, told family the gunman shot his son then pointed the rifle at him.
The gunman pulled the trigger, but it jammed, he said. Her uncle responded by turning off the lights and plunging the front room in darkness. The four invaders then fled.
The older man recognized some of the four as part of a crew of men who targeted his brother in a harassment campaign last summer that nearly resulted in his home burning down, Peter YellowQuill said.
"These are guys who are into crack and ecstasy and there appears to have been a slowdown in the flow of crack and it’s affecting a lot of these guys. They’re crashing. We think it’s all part of the drug situation," he said.
Updated on Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 4:59 PM CST: updates story with quotes from chief and additional information
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