A 16-year-old youth from the Samson Cree Nation is facing a first-degree murder charge in the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man Thursday in Maskwacis in central Alberta.

Jacob Soosay of the Samson Cree Nation was shot Thursday in a killing RCMP believe was gang-related. 

On his Facebook page, just a few hours before his death, Soosay posted a photo of gang colours and a handgun, writing, "Ready for whatever brothers."

However, RCMP are reluctant to say whether Soosay's death was an act of retaliation. 

Tammy Crier

Jacob Soosay's aunt Tammy Crier says if her nephew was in a gang, it was likely for his own protection. (CBC )

"All we'll say is this particular matter does have gang affiliations," said Insp. Tony Hamori. "I can't talk about the dynamics between the groups at this point in time. It would be too premature."

Soosay's aunt Tammy Crier told CBC News she doesn't believe her nephew was in a gang, but if he was, it was for his own protection. 

"From what I understand, the family's boys stuck together to protect not only themselves but our families," she said. 

The arrest now has her family fearing gang retaliation. They say they don't want the cycle of violence to continue.

“It just doesn’t stop here,” Crier said.

“We have to continue exposing the truth, the reality that we live in, because if we don’t, then we just continue to get walked on and pushed into the background."

Soosay's death came days after the federal government announced a $2.9-million program aimed at fighting youth crime and gang violence at Maskwacis, formerly known as Hobbema.

The teen is in custody and will appear in Wetaskiwin Provincial Youth Court on Wednesday.

 
 

With files from CBC's Janice Johnston