One man is dead and another is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after a shooting in Melville, Sask., which prompted RCMP to issue a dangerous person alert earlier Wednesday.
Police said officers first responded at 9:19 a.m. CST to reports of shots fired, according to an RCMP news release.
They issued a critical alert at 10:35 a.m. CST, saying officers were looking for two suspects after a gun-related homicide in Melville, about 135 kilometres northeast of Regina.
The alert said at that point, police didn't know where the two suspects were or where they were heading. The vehicle police believe they were using was found abandoned on Highway 10 near Duff, about 20 kilometres southwest of Melville, the alert said.
Police advised people not to pick up hitchhikers, and to be cautious of people asking for a ride or suspicious people on their property.
RCMP cancelled the alert at 1:30 p.m. CST. They said the suspects had not been located and that no arrests had been made, but that investigation led police to believe the shooting — which happened in the area of the Country Inn Motel in Melville — was not random in nature, and there was no increased risk to the general public.
"Our concern at the outset was that the suspects that may have been in that vehicle may have been hitchhiking or maybe looking for another vehicle," said Chief Supt. Tyler Bates, the commander for the RCMP's south district in Saskatchewan, in an interview with CBC.
"With the time that passed and no further incidents in that jurisdiction — and the fact that the incident upon investigation was not deemed to be random in nature — certainly lessened our concern."
The RCMP's cancellation of the alert said there would continue to be an increased police presence in the city and on roadways in and around the area, and asked anyone with information about the incident to contact police immediately.
At this point officers can't provide any further descriptions of the suspects, Bates said.
"We don't have descriptions at this juncture of the subjects, or that information would have been released to the public," said Bates.
"We don't know where the suspects are at this juncture. There are many hours that have passed since 9:19 this morning."
Christine Carman said she woke up to the sound of the alert Wednesday morning and was stunned when she read there had been a suspected homicide in the city.
Her mind went to the mass shooting in Nova Scotia in 2020, where one man killed 22 people. Carman was living in Nova Scotia at the time, and some of her friends lost parents.
"That sticks in the back of your mind," she said.
"It's a very real fear for someone like me who has experienced a mass shooting previously."
Carman, a supervisor at McDonald's, posted to social media asking about the protocol for businesses that are open in the area during the alert, considering it has an open lobby and access to workers through the drive-thru window.
"My concern was how safe is it going to actually be at work?" she said. "Then your anxiety sets in and that's really not a risk I want to take."
Carman said her manager gave her the day off because of her concerns.
Almost two months ago, two rural communities in central Saskatchewan — James Smith Cree Nation and nearby Weldon, Sask. — were under a dangerous persons alert after a killing spree that left 12 people dead.
The main suspect, Myles Sanderson, was on the loose for several days before he was arrested. He died in police custody shortly afterward.
Carman said Wednesday's alert, with police unsure about the suspects' whereabouts, brought back some anxiety she felt during the earlier incident. She was concerned about being cornered at work, her safety at home and walking to her vehicle.
"My doors are locked and I will not be leaving my house," she said.
The Good Spirit School Division, which operates 28 schools in the region, said both Melville Comprehensive School and Grayson School in nearby Grayson, Sask., had implemented hold and secure protocols.
That means the schools' exterior doors are locked and monitored to only allow students to enter. Classes can continue as normal, but no one is allowed to leave the building without consulting the principal until the situation is resolved.
The division said it was also recommending that its other schools increase supervision and be extra diligent until further notice.
Melville's city manager said around 11 a.m. CST that the community was not in lockdown.