RCMP have laid charges in a fatal shooting on a farm in the R.M. of Glenside earlier this week.
Gerald Stanley, 54, faces one count of second-degree murder in connection to the incident, which took place about 90 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon Tuesday afternoon.
Police said five people in a vehicle drove onto a rural property and were confronted by the landowners around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 9. Officials said there was a verbal exchange between the two parties, who did not know one another.
According to police, a man inside the vehicle died after at least one shot was fired.
RCMP confirm the victim is 22-year-old Colton Boushie of the Red Pheasant First Nation.
Police said officers arrested a man, woman and girl who were in the car Tuesday as part of an ongoing theft investigation. Those three have since been released. Authorities were also looking for a boy who was with them at the time.
On Thursday, RCMP said they identified and found the youth.
As of Aug. 11, no other people were in custody.
Police said charges are still being considered with respect to some property-related offences pending further investigation.
Stanley appeared in North Battleford Provincial Court Thursday morning; he’s been remanded into custody until Aug. 18.
According to Biggar resident Jordan Horst, people in the community are shocked by the second-degree murder charge laid against Stanley.
“He was a quiet guy. He was a rancher, known in the community,” Horst said, adding Stanley was working as the general manager of the Blizzard Lake Community Pasture at the time.
Farmers fed up with crime
The details of what happened Aug. 9 are still unknown, but the shooting has bolstered conversation in Biggar about crime in the community.
Two years ago, Horst’s truck was stolen from his driveway. He filed a report with the local RCMP detachment and was told to contact his insurance company – and that’s how far the case went.
“You wake up at three o’clock in the morning thinking, ‘Oh, did I leave the garage unlocked?’ And you go outside and you check just because if you don’t, there won’t be a vehicle there in the morning for you to get to work,” Horst said, adding he’s installed several security measures since the theft.
Horst isn’t alone – Carrie Elliot has farmed in the area with her husband for 43 years. She said there’s been a noticeable increase in criminal activity over the decades.
“When we first started farming here, nobody locked their doors, nobody locked their buildings or vehicles because you weren’t worried about people coming in and stealing things,” she said Thursday.
While Elliot hasn’t been a victim of crime, her family installed cameras on their property to provide added security.
“We’ve been very lucky in that way, but there’s been many that have – and more than once,” she said, adding people in the rural areas are fed up.
“The RCMP – perhaps their hands are tied – perhaps they’re just overworked, but as far as calling them when you seem to have some trouble, doesn’t seem to help,” she said.
“Some of what we’ve heard seems to be young offenders, and nothing is going to happen.”
Despite taking added security measures, Elliot said she doesn’t need a firearm to protect herself.