Three men have been charged in Hobbema after gang related incidents. Hobbema RCMP arrestedand charged a 15 year-old male in regards to the shooting of the 23-month old toddler who was shot on April 13 on the Samson Cree First Nation. The young offender is charged with aggravated assault plus 14 other charges. The toddler is currently recovering well in an Edmonton hospital.
Wetaskiwin/Hobbema General Investigation Section charged Christopher Shane Craig, 18 years old, with 16 criminal code charges including aggravated assault plus numerous weapon/firearm offences. Also charged was Corey Thomas Crane, 19 years old, with nine criminal code charges on unrelated matters.
Cpl. Darrel Bruno, Hobbema RCMP media liaison says that since April 3 they have been conducting a gang suppression targeting gang members. Since then they have executed five search warrants and have laid 44 criminal charges.
“It was a tragedy that a child was shot. It was a matter of time before something like this happened because we have had so many close calls in the past,” said Bruno.
Bruno said that in the past week it has been relatively quiet and they have extra policing resources to address the problem.
“We are doing our part to make the community safe,” said Bruno.
Samson Cree Nation Chief and Council are also taking steps to address the gang violence in the area. On April 14 the council declared a state of crisis. The council called all community members to come together to solve the current gang problems.
“Many towns and cities in Alberta are plagued by gangs and gang activity and unfortunately the Samson Cree Nation is not immune. The Samson Cree Nation has worked cooperatively with many levels of law enforcement as well as with provincial and federal officials over the past few years to reduce gang activity in our community. Clearly more work and resources are required and Samson Chief and Council is resolved to do everything possible to make Samson Cree Nation a safer place for everyone,” said Chief Marvin Yellowbird in an address on Maskwacis radio.
The Chief and Council have also directed a task force of all community stakeholders to be established as soon as possible to address all aspects of the gang problem, review existing programs and initiatives and make recommendations pertaining to short-term and long-term solutions about reducing community violence and gang activity.