The Blackfalds home where a man went on a shooting rampage Wednesday was as normal as any other residence on the quiet street, say neighbours.
“There’s never been any trouble,” a nearby resident said Friday of the home on Lansdowne Avenue.
“As far as I understand, he was just a really nice guy. He was a hard worker.
“This is actually a very quiet street. Neighbours keep an eye out for all their neighbours,” he said.
The trouble started around 8 a.m., when police were called to a gun complaint. As officers arrived, shots were fired.
Photos taken at the scene show almost a dozen impacts to the window of a black RCMP SUV that was parked almost directly across from the house where the 27-year-old shooter lived with his girlfriend, her sister and a renter.
The neighbour said after the situation got violent in the home, the women ran out the back door, then went down the side of the home to another neighbour across the street.
“(The shooter) thought the girls had taken off across the back alley and into the house directly across, and then he fired on that house,” said the neighbour, who got the information from another neighbour who is close to the women.
“A woman over there got shot in the chest.
“Then he jumped in his BMW, which was parked in the back alley, and that’s where the highway chase came into effect.”
An RCMP spokesperson could not confirm the woman’s injuries.
“I don’t where she was hit,” said Cpl. Laurel Scott on Friday.
Police have said the 48-year-old woman was shot in her home and was taken to hospital with serious injuries. She was in stable condition on Thursday.
RCMP would also not provide any further details on what may have led to the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.
“Whatever happened in that home, and whatever information we get through witnesses or evidence gathered, is still part of this ongoing investigation,” said Scott.
The suspect fled north and was intercepted by RCMP near Leduc. A spike belt was used to blow out the tires of the vehicle, which crossed the median and headed north in the southbound lanes.
It was stopped and shots were fired. The driver was killed and an RCMP officer was wounded. The officer was taken to hospital and was doing well, police said Thursday.
The neighbour said the home was owned by the father of the suspect’s girlfriend and it “had been shot up pretty good.”
Another neighbour, Bob Howell, lives one street over from where the shootings happened and provided refuge for the three women who fled the scene.
“I was sitting watching TV and saw a cop car pull up just outside my place. And right after that, I heard two shots.
“The guy fired and hit the car and sent them cops running. I saw it get shot, because the guys were ducking for cover.
“Then the girls came running down the street and I knew something was wrong. They were with a guy I knew, so I told them to come in the house and they sat in here for a couple of hours.”
Howell said he could not see the shooter.
“By the sounds of it, it was either a big rifle or a shotgun. It was a loud one, I know that.”
The women told him the suspect had come home drunk and was “smoking dope” with a male friend when an argument broke out and the friend left.
“Then he shot a hole in the wall and the TV.
“It was pretty lucky (the suspect) didn’t try to get the girls. That could have been a scary situation.”
Close to a dozen police officers were eventually on scene, he said. Video shot by a neighbour shows a group of five officers armed with their carbines cautiously making their way down the street.
Howell said he was told that the suspect’s family was in Lousana and police thought initially, he might be heading that way.
“But he didn’t. He went the other way.”
Howell said the suspect appeared to have been a welder, based on the truck he often parked outside.
The women were later taken in by police to be questioned. The shot-up RCMP SUV sat there until the evening, while forensic investigators pored over it.
Police said later the driver was not known to them.
RCMP’s major crimes unit is investigating the Blackfalds end of the incident. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which probes all serious incidents involving police, is investigating the highway shooting.