Quentin Strawberry taken into custody following a standoff at a downtown Red Deer apartment in June 2017. Strawberry and Jennifer Lee Caswell are wanted by police in connection with a homicide in Grandview last Friday. Black Press file photo

Quentin Strawberry taken into custody following a standoff at a downtown Red Deer apartment in June 2017. Strawberry and Jennifer Lee Caswell are wanted by police in connection with a homicide in Grandview last Friday. Black Press file photo

Homicide home was a neighbourhood nuisance

Neighbours said police were regular visitors to the home which appeared to be a drug house

On a quiet Grandview street, one home has stood out for years — for all the wrong reasons.

The 40A Avenue residence where Joseph Junior Alfred Gallant was fatally wounded early Friday morning has been a frequent target of RCMP raids and a notorious drug house for a decade.

A neighbour said one day, he watched as a man, who appeared to be high on drugs, stumbled out of the house in the middle of the afternoon and collapsed across a steel handrail in front of the home.

“He looked like he was dead,” said the neighbour. “He sprung up a minute later and started checking door handles of vehicles.”

The resident shook his head at such a blatant attempt to steal in the middle of the day. Just about all vehicles on the street have been broken into at one time or another, he added.

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RCMP searching for homicide suspects

RCMP said they were called to the house just after midnight Friday morning and found a badly wounded Gallant. He was taken to hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Police are searching for Quentin Lee Strawberry, 37, and Jennifer Lee Caswell, 37. Each are charged with second-degree murder and assault causing bodily harm.

RCMP said Monday police are still searching for the two suspects and welcome any public tips.

Police warned people not to approach the suspects and call 911 right away. Strawberry is considered armed and dangerous.

Grandview neighbours’ frustrations with the house had been ongoing although the situation had apparently been improving.

A woman who cares for the property with her husband said the drug problems ended in 2017 after the rental property changed hands.

A woman lived there for a year followed by Gallant, who moved into the home in December. Neither were connected to the previous issues with the house.

One resident said that since he bought his home from his sister about five years ago, RCMP tactical unit officers have surrounded the home where Gallant was attacked and arrested occupants numerous times.

“It’s been every spring. It’s hard to keep track.”

Not long after he moved in, the man built a high fence around his yard, had a security system installed and leaves a baseball bat by the door in case of intruders.

His sister, who owned the home for eight years previous, had similar experiences.

All the telltale signs of an active drug house have been a recurring nuisance for residents, said the man. When he would come home from working the night shift, he would see the late-night traffic to and from the house.

“There would be cab after cab. It was just constant.”

Women, who appeared to be sex trade workers, would also come out of the home. Sometimes, they would leave with bike gang members.

“When we first bought the house, we couldn’t get a cab to come here to pick you up.”

They would only come after he assured them his home was not the drug house.

“Every cop I’ve talked to, everybody knows about that house and what goes on.”

Only the day before the homicide, he saw “sketchy”-looking people wandering around the area, he said.

The neighbour is frustrated that no one seems to be able to do anything about the house, which is within eyesight of Eastview Middle School.

“The city needs to take that house away and auction it or do something.”

The sister who sold him the house said the problems date back about eight years. There was a lull around 2013, but the peace did not last.

“I don’t know if someone went to jail or what,” she said, adding the unwanted traffic eventually returned and seemed to get even worse.

On one occasion, her husband saw a woman thrown through a screen door and down the concrete steps. She somehow got back inside the house and locked a man out who ran around kicking at doors and screaming until she called police and he ran off.

For neighbours, it’s a nightmare and it’s unclear what they can do to put a stop to it, other than calling police constantly.

“It’s definitely escalated. It’s scary, but it’s also got to the point where what else can you do to get these people out of there?”

Another neighbour shared similar stories about the house. During one police raid, a flash-bang grenade was hurled into the home before police went in to arrest the occupants.

Drug customers were a constant presence in the alley: “They’d park out back of our place all the time.”

The signs of a drug house were obvious.

“The lights would be on all night. People would be walking around at two or three in the morning, and then nothing all day.”

Problems seemed to ebb and flow. Two years ago, it was really bad, but then the activity seemed to die down for more than a year. But over the past six months, activity picked up again.

The resident said he will not let the fact that police have not yet caught someone with Strawberry’s violent past worry him.

“There are so many people like him. If you run around scared, you’ll be a homebody for the rest of your life.”

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call RCMP at 403-343-5575.

This story was updated with information provided by a caretaker of the property who said the drug problems had ended in 2017 and the home has been trouble-free since then.

Homicide

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