When one person brought terror, others near Consort were forced to become heroes in the fight of their lives on Friday.
And in the terrible end, three people lost their lives, and a community was in shock.
While RCMP have not identified the three people or released many details, family has.
Christine Clifford, 44, Shawn Lindsay, 43, and Joseph Sylvester, 39, all died in shootings near Consort, 220 km east of Red Deer.
Police were called to Shawn Lindsay’s rural home at about 3:30 a.m. There they found two men shot — one was already dead and the other fatally wounded — and a woman, injured as well during an ensuing battle and gunfight.
Multiple media reports indicate that Sylvester, after killing his partner Clifford at their rural residence, drove to the Shawn Lindsay home where a confrontation took place.
Here’s what Stacey Lindsay, married to Shawn’s older brother Rod, told me on Monday.
She and Rod were in bed sleeping when the phone rang.
“As the crow flies,” they live about three km north of Shawn. Sylvester also lived several kilometres north of Shawn Lindsay.
It was Billie-Jo Wadden calling, in a complete panic. She is Shawn’s fiance and the mother of the couple’s 17-month-old son TJ. Shawn also has custody of his other son, five-year-old Everett. All four were home in bed that night.
Stacey said she wasn’t clear on what was going on, but Billie-Jo was begging them to come and get the children, and that there had been a shooting.
Parents Bob and Carol Lindsay live right next door to Shawn. Billie-Jo tried them first to come and get the children. “She couldn’t get a hold of Bob and Carol … the paramedics were already on the site. … You know when she was freaking out I caught ramblings. I didn’t really catch anything as to what was truly going on,” Stacey said.
“She didn’t know what to do, she was worried about getting the kids out of there, she doesn’t want them to be subject to that. No mother does.
“She was hoping that I’d come and get them … I didn’t know what was going on. I said, ‘We’re on our way.’
“We just knew that this Sylvester started shooting up the place.
“The details I don’t know for sure. I wasn’t there. I do know that Joe (Sylvester) come in the house (with a gun) when they were sleeping and when Shawn realized he was there, they threw him out.”
Shawn and Billie-Jo somehow got him out of the house and locked the door.
Then, said Stacey, Shawn grabbed a gun.
“And that’s when all hell broke loose basically and he (Sylvester) smashed the door in and punched Billie in the face and in that meantime or whatever she managed to get back to her feet, and in the scramble Shawn ended up shot, and she kept telling him: ‘Shawn! Shoot him! He’s not stopping, you gotta shoot him!’ and he finally ended it.”
Stacey said Shawn was lying on the floor wounded when he was shot by Sylvester. Shawn would die several hours later in hospital. Billie-Jo was hit with buckshot but is not in hospital.
At some point, Stacey also tried to reach her in-laws, Carol and Bob Lindsay. “That’s when the major panic really set in. Even for myself. Something’s not right. And then I had visions of him doing them (Bob and Carol) first.”
Later, police would find Christine Clifford at her home she shared with Sylvester. She had been shot dead as well.
“I know deep in my heart that she (Christine) tried to stop him (Sylvester) and that’s why she’s dead. I know that deep in my heart. So between the two of them they’re f—–g heroes,” a sobbing Stacey said.
Stacey describes Shawn: “You name it, he was there for ya.” His nickname was Chumley, she said, laughing a little with the memory.
Like a lot of rural families, they are a family that loves to hunt and fish, and Shawn loved his quad, said Stacey.
Clifford is the mother of four daughters — Miranda, Colby, Kaylie and Breanna. Her husband Doug Clifford died suddenly on Oct. 12, 2011, at the age of 42.
When the Consort events first became public on Friday, RCMP stated that there was no risk to the public and that all three deceased were known to each other.
Bob Lindsay told media that Sylvester had worked for his sons’ oilfield company (S&R Oilfield Construction), but had been fired recently.
Bob and Carol also have a daughter, Rhea, who lives in Red Deer. All the rest of the family resides in the Consort area.
Now they are all gathered at Bob and Carol’s. Billie-Jo’s two sisters have arrived to offer her support. “She’s doing better,” says Stacey.
A service for Shawn is set for 1 p.m. on Friday at the Consort Sportex. Dates for the other two funerals are not known yet.
Where do they go from here?
“Forward,” says Stacey, without hesitation.