Police look to public to help clear unsolved crimes

As 2011 draws to a close, police are urging residents to come forward with any information related to the crimes of the past year that remain unsolved.

As 2011 draws to a close, police are urging residents to come forward with any information related to the crimes of the past year that remain unsolved.

Red Deer City RCMP continue to investigate the murder of Oscar Salazar, as well as three armed robberies that occurred at the Capri Centre — now the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel — and the Boston Pizza across the street.

Cpl. Kathe DeHeer said tips from residents are a “huge” help for police trying to track down criminals.

“People see things, hear things, know things, and sharing that information with the police will help to solve crime,” she said.

“Sometimes they think we already know it or sometimes they think it’s not important. But it could be the key piece of evidence that’s going to help us solve the crime.”

Salazar, 22, was shot while seated with an unidentified 18-year-old man in a silver-coloured BMW in Highland Green on Aug. 2. The younger man was taken to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, treated and later released.

Two males with concealed faces brandished a loaded shotgun and an extendable baton when they entered the VLT Lounge at the Capri on May 1. They fled from the scene of the brazen daylight robbery in a stolen car with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The hotel VLT Lounge was again targeted on Oct. 3, in the evening. Two males with partially covered faces — one carried a rifle and the other a shotgun — emptied the till and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

On Nov. 1, two men with concealed faces and carrying firearms entered the Boston Pizza lounge in the 3200 block of Gaetz Avenue demanding money.

RCMP are also requesting any information people may have about two shooting homicides in Hobbema and a targeted explosion murder in Innisfail.

“They’re all actively being investigated,” said Sgt. Tim Tamiguchi with the RCMP K Division. “We encourage people who have any information in relation to these criminal acts to come forward either to the RCMP or through Crime Stoppers.”

Ethan Yellowbird, five, was asleep in bed when he died from a gunshot fired outside the home just off a main road in Samson Cree First Nation townsite on July 11.

The boy’s aunt, identified as 23-year-old Chelsea Yellowbird, was shot to death nearly two months later. She was gunned down on Sept. 5 next door to where her nephew was killed.

Victoria Shachtay, 23, died on Nov. 25 after a package delivered to her Innisfail home exploded. An autopsy on Nov. 28 confirmed the death of the young mother was a homicide. RCMP previously said its investigation will look at all aspects of Shachtay’s life, including circumstances relating to her daughter’s birth and the vehicle collision that put her in a wheelchair. A caregiver was with Shachtay at the time of the explosion but escaped serious injury.

Earlier this month, RCMP asked Innisfail residents for any surveillance footage of streets in town as part of its investigation. Tamiguchi said they received minimal input.

Anyone with information about these crimes can contact RCMP directly. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or go online to www.tipsubmit.com.

ptrotter@bprda.wpengine.com

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