Gang activity has not been ruled out by RCMP in the death of the five-year-old grandson of Samson Chief Marvin Yellowbird in Hobbema early Monday morning.
At 3 a.m. July 11, RCMP and EMS responded to a complaint of a shooting at a residence on the Samson townsite. Spokesman Sgt. Tim Taniguchi said Ethan Yellowbird was sleeping in his bed when he was hit by a bullet fired from outside the home.
A woman in the residence sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to hospital. Investigators are following up all leads and have not ruled out possible gang activity.
A separate incident was reported earlier in the morning where a house on the Samson reserve was shot with a firearm believed to have been discharged from outside of the residence. No one was hurt in this incident.
Mounties are attempting to determine whether the two incidents are related.
RCMP is requesting the public’s assistance in this investigation. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call the Hobbema RCMP at 780-585-4600 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
The Samson reserve has been plagued by drug and gang violence over the years.
Three years ago community leaders and RCMP promised to improve enforcement after the wounding of 23-month old Asia Saddleback.
Saddleback was struck by a stray bullet that tore through the wall of her grandfather’s house in April 2008, hitting her in the liver and spine as she ate Sunday dinner with her family.
She survived the shooting but spent 10 days in hospital and now has a bullet lodged in her spine.
Christopher Crane, then 18, pleaded guilty to the shooting. He shot at the house because he believed the residents were members of a rival gang.
A youth, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was found guilty of aggravated assault and several weapons offences.
Last November, a 28-year-old man standing in his living room on the reserve was struck by several bullets in another drive-by shooting. Several other people in the home, including a three-year old child, were unharmed.
At the time, RCMP said the shooting appeared to be gang related but the victim was not believed to have been involved.