The widow of a man who was fatally shot outside a Walmart in central Alberta says her husband overcame a 1991 propane explosion that put him in a coma for three months and burned over 84 per cent of his body.
Roxine Williams says Jim Williams had been a truck driver, and after he was burned he had to retire.
But she says he got through it and the couple had a good life.
Williams says her husband had gone inside the Red Deer store on Dec. 20 to pick up deodorant while she waited in the car.
An 18-year-old man faces charges that include second-degree murder and theft of a vehicle, while a 30-year-old woman faces charges that include accessory after the fact to the death and theft of a vehicle.
An avid target shooter himself, Williams says Jim always fought for gun laws.
“He loved to go shoot his targets, he loved to go camping, he loved his grandchildren unconditionally, his children unconditionally,” she said. “He would take them camping anytime. We spent so much time camping with our grandchildren because he just loved it.”
Police have said there was an altercation when Williams was approached by a suspect he didn’t know. They said he was shot and the suspect fled in a stolen vehicle driven by a woman.
The 69-year-old was rushed in critical condition to hospital, where he died.
“I said to Jim, just run in and get your deodorant and then we’ll go home,” Williams said. “I was sitting in the car and reading my book and he came back and knocked on the window, so I unlocked the door and he opened it and then he slammed it shut and said, ‘Stay there!”’
At that point, Williams said she saw her husband backing towards their vehicle’s mirror, with another man in a hoodie and black cloth covering the bottom half of his face — carrying a gun.
“I heard a pop and then Jim was backing up and I heard another pop,” said Williams. “Then the guy took off running and Jim took off after him and that’s the last I saw of my husband.”
RCMP from Rimbey, which is about 60 kilometres away, later received a report of another stolen vehicle and both vehicles were spotted from the air. They were stopped by officers on the ground using spike belts, and the suspects were arrested.
Williams admits the sudden loss of her husband hit her hard on Christmas Day.
“My husband loved to take my picture first thing Christmas morning with my hair a mess, and me staggering around making a turkey,” laughed Williams. “He wasn’t here to do that, there was nobody here.”
A funeral will be held on Saturday, Jan. 4.