Possible gang involvement worrisome

The explosion of gunfire in a quiet Red Deer neighbourhood on the weekend has awakened the community in more ways than one.

The explosion of gunfire in a quiet Red Deer neighbourhood on the weekend has awakened the community in more ways than one.

Shortly after shots were fired early Sunday morning, Brandon Neil Prevey was found dead in a vehicle parked on a street in Inglewood.

Photos posted Monday on the Facebook group “In Loving Memory of Brandon Neil Prevey aka Commando” show him cradling his young daughter protectively, his chest- and back-covered tattoo art in such contrast to the naked clear-skinned infant he holds.

Police are too close-lipped about this new level of violence in our community, but Prevey’s death may have been related to gang activity.

The trouble with gangs is members sometimes get killed by opposition wanting in on the action, or just revenge. And when that happens, they leave loved ones behind, including children. Sometimes, too, innocent bystanders are injured, or killed.

The Facebook group started late Monday morning for Prevey, who would have been 30 next month, began with only one posting, apparently by the mother of his young daughter. Within a short time, though, the site began to gather steam. So within a few hours, dozens of people had joined.

As surreal as the shooting seems, in retrospect we should not be so surprised that the type of gang violence in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton we’ve been reading about should show its ugly face in Red Deer.

Our own city RCMP force has access to provincial gang unit police officers for good reason.

Like everywhere else, illegal drugs — controlled by gangs — can be found in Red Deer. The gunning down of Prevey has police strongly suspecting it was gang- and drug-related.

The murder happened on Ibbotson Close, in a newer neighbourhood in Red Deer, not dissimilar to many others in this city.

Neighbours suspect there is a drug house in the immediate area. But not just the residents of Inglewood should be worried about this incident. Drug houses have been found throughout the city.

Anyone who has a stake in this community, who believes it should be a healthy and safe place to live and work in, should be thinking about what we can do now to fight the pervasiveness of gang activity.

In 2005, Prevey and another man, Steven Anthony Pillon, were charged with second-degree murder following a stabbing death in Edmonton.

While Pillon was out of jail, awaiting trial, his girlfriend was killed while sitting in his car. Later, the second-degree murder charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence, however both received one-year sentences for other charges related to the same incident.

Prevey had apparently only recently moved to Red Deer.

Last October, in another column I wrote about gangs in Red Deer, I suggested there needed to be a dialogue about gangs here, an issue we should not be afraid to acknowledge. Now we must acknowledge the problem. It’s in our face, as of 3 a.m. Sunday.

There’s some suggestion Prevey may have been a member of the Crazy Dragons street gang, which is apparently in the process of expanding beyond its Edmonton base. Police have not confirmed whether Prevey was involved with the Crazy Dragons but friends of Prevey told other media he was.

A recent report by Alberta law enforcement agencies identified the Crazy Dragons as the top criminal threat in the province.

The good news is that Calgary has developed an anti-gang model that is attracting the attention of the federal government for possible funding, and which could be applied in other communities.

The Youth at Risk Development program identifies young persons at risk or affiliated with gangs so that early intervention can take place to help divert them from a lifestyle that has proven itself to be fatal.

Were he here today, Brandon Prevey, father of a young child, might wish such a program had been around when he was younger.

Mary-Ann Barr is Advocate assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at barr@bprda.wpengine.com or by phone at 403-314-4332.

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