Woman shot dead at Hobbema, Alta., reserve

A 23-year-old woman was fatally shot on the violence-plagued Hobbema reserve south of Edmonton, at a home next door to where a five-year-old boy was shot and killed in July.
RCMP investigators search for evidence at Samson townsite following the shooting death of a woman early Monday. ((CBC))

A 23-year-old woman was fatally shot on the violence-plagued Hobbema reserve south of Edmonton, at a home next door to where a five-year-old boy was shot and killed in July.

Police were called to a home just before 3 a.m. MT on Monday in the Samson Cree townsite, where the woman was found with neck wounds, the RCMP said.

Police said there was a party going on at the house when shots were fired outside. The woman was taken to hospital in Wetaskiwin, where she was pronounced dead.

The woman's name has not been released, pending confirmation of her identity and notification of her family, RCMP spokesman Const. Perry Cardinal said. No arrest has been made.

The shooting occurred at the house next door to where Ethan Yellowbird, 5, was shot to death as he slept in July, when someone fired into the house. No arrest has been made in that case.

RCMP said it's too early to connect the two deaths.

"We're not going to jump to conclusions that it's related," Cardinal told CBC News. "We don't have a motive, and we can't even say if it's gang-related at this time."

However, Cardinal said, there has been an increase in violence in the community in 2011.

"It has been going [on] even since the beginning of January," Cardinal said. "We've had shots fired, and I'm not saying every day, but I think we need to make people more aware of it … and we have to do what we can."

The spokesman said the community can help police battle the violence.

"People need to be vigilant," he said. "An elderly lady told me people 'have to get their heads out of the sand. This is not going to stop until we start pointing fingers at those who are doing it. It's supposed to be peaceful, and we should be able to live in our homes safely. Make people accountable who are causing the grief.'"

One problem police face is the fear that prevents many witnesses from stepping forward, Cardinal said.

"It's a trust factor, and still the biggest thing is the trust," Cardinal said. "We have people to protect, but we still have a crime that has to be solved."

An autopsy has been ordered, but no date has been set, Cardinal said.

Roy Louis, a Samson elder who advises the RCMP, said his immediate reaction to the killing was "Oh no, not again."

Louis said there have been more than 40 drive-by shootings since the beginning of the year.