29-year-old man charged in Edmonton-area shooting and carjackings
Suspect arrested after stolen car became stuck in mud near a slough, RCMP say
A man apprehended in connection with a shooting and two carjackings in the Edmonton area was arrested in Saskatchewan Thursday after his getaway car became stuck in the mud near a slough, police say.
The 29-year-old was arrested after he left the car, reported stolen earlier from a home between Lloydminster and Maidstone, and started travelling on foot.
The man has since been charged with seven charges including robbery and a series of weapons offences. He appeared in North Battleford Provincial Court on Friday morning.
The crime spree began after a vehicle was stolen in downtown Edmonton and shots were fired at a hotel in Sherwood Park, sending one man to the hospital with wounds to his shoulder and neck.
As of Friday afternoon, the victim was still in hospital recovering from non-life threatening injuries.
A manhunt continues for a second suspect, but investigators are uncertain if the individual was involved in the Saskatchewan incidents, RCMP said.
"We are remaining vigilant and are asking the public to do the same: do not approach suspicious vehicles or persons and report any suspicious activity, vehicles or persons in the Maidstone area to police," RCMP said in a news release Friday.
On Thursday, RCMP tactical units, sniffer dogs, drone and air services searched well into the night Thursday for the second suspect.
Police warned area residents that the suspect could be armed and to stay clear of areas with a heavy police presence and report anything suspicious.
At least two schools — Chief Little Pine School and Chief Poundmaker School, south of the village of Paynton — were locked down as was the lobby of the Paynton post office.
A woman's black Ford Fusion was stolen just before midnight near 118th Avenue and 104th Street, police said.
Ten minutes later, another woman was robbed at 106th Avenue and 92nd Street by a suspect matching the description of the carjacker.
The Fusion then fled to Sherwood Park and at about 12:35 a.m, Strathcona RCMP were called to assist Edmonton police in the pursuit.
At the same time, RCMP were called to reports of shots fired at the Holiday Inn Express on Broadmoor Boulevard in Sherwood Park. The victim was transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
'It was crazy'
A few minutes later, Vern Goulet, a 38-year-old father on his way from Regina to Fort McMurray, had just got into his car to leave the Flying J gas station in Sherwood Park.
That's when a man opened his driver's side door and pointed a shotgun in his face.
"I thought it was just some guy going to ask me for a smoke or something," Goulet told CBC News on Thursday. "But the next thing I know there's a shotgun in my face and he told me to get down out of the car."
Goulet said he ran into the service station and told the attendant to call the police. Within moments, the police already were on scene, he said.
The Chrysler 300, believed to belong to Goulet, was later seen speeding through the Vegreville area before it was recovered in Saskatchewan. A black Ford Fusion was later found engulfed in flames on Highway 16 at Range Road 195.
"It was just like something you see out of the movies — it was crazy," he said. "The more I thought about it, too is, what if I had my kids in the back?"
The man accused in the case is due back in court on Monday.
Edmonton, Vegreville and Maidstone are connected by Highway 16. Maidstone is about 220 kilometres east of Vegreville and around 55 kilometres east of the Saskatchewan-Alberta border.
With files from the Canadian Press