Neala Cook woke up for work at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, looked out her front window and saw a man’s body lying in the street.
Red Deer RCMP were on scene minutes later, blockading that stretch of 45 St. in old Eastview.
Police soon determined it was a targeted homicide. RCMP officers had been called by Cook’s next-door neighbour who had heard gunshots.
“It really makes you think about where you live,” said Cook, who became upset on Wednesday, thinking about how her Tuesday morning started.
“I had a really bad day yesterday… It was very shocking,” added Cook.
She was immediately concerned for her daughters’ safety, as “bullets can go through walls, they can ricochet…
“It’s a sad situation when somebody’s lost a family member and somebody’s lost his life,” Cook concluded.
None of the neighbours the Advocate spoke to on Wednesday thought they knew the man who had been shot, and they did not believe he lived on the street. His identity was not released by police.
Cook’s neighbour down the road, Eugene Schmidt, said he heard three rapid bangs at about 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday. “I thought it sounded like fireworks…”
Schmidt is concerned about crime in the neighbourhood, and admits he has thought about moving.
Forty-fifth Street, in the older part of Eastview, is described as being in transition, Some homes are being renewed while others have seemingly become a revolving door for transitory tenants.
The neighbourhood residents told the Advocate that police collected footage from some household cameras and they were anxious to learn more details about the shooting.
They described some “sketchy” activities in the area — from a four-plex that police were regularly attending, to petty thefts and people selling suspicious merchandise in a “year-round garage sale.”
Schmidt is concerned about suspected drug activity in the neighbourhood. About a year ago, one of his neighbours found a loaded weapon on his property that had been discarded by a suspect who was fleeing from police, he recalled.
“I wanted to move away but then I was out of work,” said the former pipefitter, “and then COVID came.”
Schmidt now plans to get a doorbell camera to help keep his wife and mother safe.
He’s concerned many older people live on the street. There’s also a day home there, and Eastview Middle School and Joseph Welsh Elementary School aren’t far away.
Drew Evans, who had his plans on Tuesday altered by the police blockade, has noticed a few “unsavoury people” doing suspicious things since he moved to the street four months ago.
A few times strangers have rung his doorbell because some unknown person had agreed to meet them in front of his residence as part of a Kijiji sales transaction. Drew said when the seller didn’t show up would-be buyers would come to his door, thinking the seller lived there — but he knew nothing about it.
Evans still feels the area is relatively safe.
But Cook and her daughter Maddy admitted they feel uneasy walking from their car to their home in the dark. They are pleased their landlady installed motion-detection lights.
It’s up to everybody to help prevent crime and take care of each other, said Cook.
Andrea Lyman, who lives a few blocks away, said she was surprised but not shocked when she heard about Tuesday’s targeted shooting. She noted there have been several gun-related crimes in the area over the past decade.
There have also lot of petty theft and several known drug houses “but I’ve never felt unsafe,” she added.
Lyman believes it wouldn’t hurt to have more RCMP patrols, but her husband, Clay Peters, added if the targeted shooting is drug-related “it could happen anywhere.”