The wife of a man who was fatally shot outside Red Deer’s south Walmart says she has lost her best friend.
Roxine Williams told CTV News that she and her husband had stopped at the store to pick up deodorant.
He was getting back in the car when she says she heard a pop and her husband slammed the door shut and told her to stay put.
She says she heard a few more pops and, when she felt it was safe to leave the vehicle, saw her husband of 44 years on the ground.
“They took my best friend,” she said. “My husband, my travel partner. They took him away from me.”
An emotional Mayor Tara Veer said at a news conference on Monday morning she and Williams attend the same church.
She recognized him immediately when she saw a photo of him following the shooting about 6:45 p.m. Friday.
“This is an unprecedented tragedy in our community,” said Veer.
Williams was a loving husband, father and a “proud, proud grandpa,” said Veer, who fought back tears.
“He was an uncle, a cousin, a friend and a neighbour.
“He was a deeply kind and compassionate person.
“He was a man who experienced adversity in his life, but all who knew him know that he prevailed as an overcomer. All who had the privilege of crossing paths with him were better for knowing him.”
Veer said all Red Deerians have a “responsibility to Jim to remain steadfast in our solidarity with Roxine and their family.
“And we plead and we ask that we do not allow the passing of time to diminish our compassion, our concern and our care for them.
“In honour of Jim’s life and legacy we need to continue to reach out to them, not just in the immediate aftermath but in the weeks, the months and the years to come.”
Veer said the community has been shaken by the violent crime.
“I think it’s very fair to say that this is an absolutely unprecedented tragedy in our community and it has absolutely fueled fear in our community for the simple reason it was a very random and violent act in a public place.
“It has deeply shaken our community. I think our community has a lot to process, obviously, in the days and weeks to come.”
Veer said the city remains committed to its work on reducing crime and creating a safer community.
“I think (the crime) speaks deeply to the challenges we face as a community.”
But the first priority now is to support the family and the many others, including witnesses, who have been emotionally affected by the violent crime.
— With files from The Canadian Press