Mother of slain Meadow Lake teenager says kids 'shouldn't have guns'

RCMP have charged a 15-year-old with manslaughter after a shooting in Meadow Lake, Sask., earlier this week.

Kegan McCallum mother says she's 'relieved' alleged shooter was caught

Kegan McCallum, left, died in hospital on Monday. (Submitted )

The mother of a teen shot and killed in Meadow Lake says she's feeling a mixture of relief and anger.

Leianne Barthel's 17-year-old son Kegan McCallum was shot inside a home in the northern town on Monday.

On Thursday, RCMP charged a 15-year-old boy with manslaughter. 

Even if her son's death turns out to be an accident, Barthel is still upset that young teens were able to access guns. 

"Kids shouldn't have stuff like that, shouldn't have guns," she said. 

Kegan's McCallum's mother, Leianne Barthel, sister Natasha McCallum and great aunt Charlene Martin. (Charles Hamilton/CBC News)

Barthel says waiting for police to find and charge her son's alleged killer was anguishing. 

"It was just a huge weight off my back. I am just relieved," she said Thursday. 

Barthel and other family members say McCallum was a "frightened boy" who was afraid to leave the house in the months before he was killed.

McCallum, they said, was a happy teenager who deeply loved and cared for his family.

But they say his happy demeanour changed in July, when there was an incident with a group of people involving some bad drugs.

Barthel said the manslaughter charge indicates her son may not have been targeted and that the shooting may have been accidental. 

"It was my worst fear, him getting targeted. But it is a relief if is accidental but it is quite upsetting," she said. 

The 15-year-old was arrested Thursday morning in North Battleford, Sask., about 150 kilometres south of Meadow Lake.

RCMP say the two were known to each other.

The family is holding a vigil Thursday night for McCallum. They are planning to light candles and walk from the house where he was found shot to his home only a few short blocks away.

It's a walk, they say, that McCallum made often. 

RCMP were unable to disclose why the hunt for the alleged shooter took nearly four days. A spokesperson said they consulted with Crown prosecutors before laying the manslaughter charge.  

The boy has also been charged with possession of a loaded, prohibited firearm and public mischief. 

About the Author

Charles Hamilton

Charles Hamilton is a reporter with CBC Saskatoon.