The man who was shot and killed after breaking into a Red Deer County home, had already broken into that same residence twice a couple of days before the fatal incident occurred, says a neighbour.
On Friday, RCMP announced no charges will be laid in response to Monday’s fatal shooting at a home on C&E Trail near Penhold.
Officers were called to the scene of a break and enter Monday just after 3 p.m. Blackfalds RCMP say in a news release that when officers got to the Red Deer County home Monday, they found the homeowner bleeding and a man dead with a gunshot wound.
“I was vacuuming and I heard a siren. Then I heard another one and another one,” said Teri Ryan, who lives across the street from the residence with her husband Mark.
“I looked out the window and there were police vehicles coming from all different directions. I counted them – there were seven police vehicles and two ambulances.”
Ryan said she knew something was “terribly wrong” right away.
“On the Saturday, (the homeowner) had come by to tell me their house had been broken into twice by the same guy and that he was taking his family away for the weekend, just to shake off the shock of it all,” she said.
“They came back on Monday afternoon to find their gate broken down. (The homeowner) walked in and found this person on the bed,” the neighbour told the Advocate.
A confrontation then occurred in which the man who broke into the home struck the homeowner numerous times with a baseball bat, police explained on Friday. During the attack, the homeowner was able to retrieve a firearm and shot the deceased one time, RCMP added.
After consultation with the Crown prosecutor’s office, the decision was made that charges will not be laid.
The homeowner, who lives at the residence with his wife and children, was at the hospital Friday to get surgery on his hand.
“I saw him on Wednesday – he and his wife came by to thank us for our support. He was really beaten up. Blood on his ear, stitches on the side of his head. He can’t hear out of one ear, he had a cast on his arm and apparently his back was badly bruised,” Ryan said.
“This guy really laid a beating on (the homeowner) before he was able to defend himself. His daughters were there and witnessed it. It’s just a terrible tragedy because this didn’t have to happen. I’m quite upset with our justice system right now. It’s a shame the RCMP didn’t keep this man (in custody).
“None of this had to happen. (The homeowner) feels terrible about taking a life, but he really had no choice. The man was going to kill him with that bat. His daughters and his wife were there and he had to protect his family.”
Ryan said the homeowner is “a great guy and this has just torn him apart.”
Justin Barker, another neighbour, said there’s “some concern” around the neighbourhood following this incident.
“It’s kind of scary something like this could happen so close to home,” said Barker, who lives with his wife Amber.
“I grew up in Red Deer and it used to be a nice, clean, safe town. You could walk around at night if you want. But the last 15 years or so it’s progressively gotten worse and now it’s spilling out of town and into the rural communities.”
Barker said he believes the City of Red Deer needs to “deal with” the crime problem.
“My opinion is we help the situation too much and they’re just free to keep … doing what they want rather than having to smarten up and contribute,” he said.