Edmonton

Two Alberta men gunned down in what may have been random attack

The bodies of Jake Sansom, 39, and his uncle Maurice Cardinal, 57, were found early Saturday morning outside Sansom's pickup truck, dead from gunshot wounds.

‘I just don’t get why somebody could murder two people for no reason like that,' brother says

The selfie shot by Jake Sansom, left, and Maurice Cardinal on the last day they were alive. (Submitted by Mike Sansom)

Update: A man has been arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree murder, RCMP said Wednesday afternoon.

Autopsies have confirmed the two deaths were homicide and the manner of death was by gunshots.


On the last day they were alive, Jake Sansom and his uncle took a selfie. 

Smiling, arms around each other, the two men were out in the bush on Friday near Siebert Lake, 265 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

They had shot a moose and were celebrating a successful hunt that would put food on the table.

Early the next morning, Sansom and Maurice Cardinal were found dead from gunshot wounds near Sansom's truck.

The black 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup was spotted at around 4 a.m. at an intersection at Township Road 622 and Range Road 84, near the farm that belongs to Cardinal's stepson. 

After hunting on Friday, Sansom and Cardinal took the moose to that farm where they were joined by Sansom's brother Mike. They worked on the carcass inside a closed shop throughout the day and into the evening. 

Mike Sansom said he left the farm around 8 p.m. His brother and Cardinal departed later in the evening. They were planning to take back roads to head east back to Bonnyville. 

A short distance down the road, the two men stopped at a T-intersection, prepared to make a right turn. 

Mike Sansom said police have told him they believe his brother and uncle were ambushed at the intersection.

"That is one of many investigational avenues that we are currently looking at," RCMP Cpl. Ron Bumbry told CBC News in an email. "At this time, the investigation is in its preliminary stages and we don't know for certain." 

The family is reeling.

"I just don't get why somebody could murder two people for no reason like that," Sansom said. "They didn't rob them. The cops said nothing was missing. They pulled up just to kill them, just because. I just don't understand that."

'They weren't thieves, they weren't drug addicts' 

Jake Sansom, 39, was married and had three children. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he had been recently laid off from his job as a heavy-duty mechanic at Suncor.

He was a volunteer firefighter, a motivational speaker and taught jiu-jitsu to children in Bonnyville. According to his brother, he had no enemies. 

Jake Sansom was a volunteer firefighter with Nobleford & District Emergency Services. (Supplied by Mike Sansom)

"I mean if anybody broke down, he'd always stop and make sure he'd help fix their vehicle and get it going again," Mike Sansom said. "Anybody who needed help, they'd help them. Even my Uncle Maurice. They'd give you the shirt off their back if they could. If they thought that you needed it."

In a message posted on Facebook, Nobleford and District Emergency Services wrote: "Jake Sansom was a gentle person, who had a big heart and always wanted to help anyone he could. Firefighter Sansom was always willing to be involved in the department, community, fundraisers, and continually showed his love for his family and fellow firefighters." 

Mike Sansom said his uncle Maurice Cardinal, 57, was equally devoted to his family. The grandfather of five with three stepchildren often helped out with babysitting. 

A long-time friend of both victims is horrified the two men were gunned down.  

Maurice Cardinal, 57. (Supplied by Mike Sansom)

"I just don't get it," Blair Inscho said. "They weren't thieves, they weren't drug addicts. They're not anything like that." 

Autopsies on the two men were performed Tuesday but the results have not been made public. RCMP said the nature of the gunshot injuries and the number of gunshots would not be released to protect the integrity of the investigation. 

Police are seeking anyone with footage of the area — including range roads 84 and 90, as well as township roads 614 and 620 — between 8 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Saturday. That includes trail cameras, dash cameras or video surveillance.

On the last day his brother and uncle were alive, Mike Sansom said he didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. 

"When we came back from the lake to go to Jason's, there was nobody around," he said. "We didn't see anybody at Siebert Lake. We didn't see anybody on the road back. There was nobody coming or going."

Siebert Lake is about 40 kilometres east of Lac La Biche.

Corrections

  • This story has been updated to more accurately reflect what has been confirmed about the shooting.
    Apr 01, 2020 11:37 AM MT

About the Author

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston