Langham, Sask. shooting suspect's family offers condolences to victim's loved ones

·2 min read
Police are in Langham, Sask., as officers look for Justin Heimbecker, the suspect in a morning homicide in the town. (Don Somers/CBC - image credit)
Police are in Langham, Sask., as officers look for Justin Heimbecker, the suspect in a morning homicide in the town. (Don Somers/CBC - image credit)

The family of the suspect in a shooting that prompted an emergency alert in central Saskatchewan and left two dead, likely including the suspect, says they are in "shock and disbelief" about that day.

An emergency alert was issued at about 7:40 a.m. via Sask Alert to the areas surrounding Langham, Sask., about a dangerous, potentially armed person in the area, and urged residents to lock their doors and windows and shelter in place.

The armed person was later identified by police as Justin Heimbecker, 46. About four hours later, RCMP found what they believe to be his body in a home that had been set aflame earlier that day.

A statement released Sunday by Justin Heimbecker's aunt, Donna Heimbecker, on behalf of the family says they "will never know what was going on in Justin's mind on that tragic day."

"His actions were totally out of character for the man we all knew and loved and we will always wish we could have known his struggles and been there for him," the statement said.

"Our family sends our sincere condolences and prayers to the family, friends and loved ones of the [person] who also lost [their] life so unnecessarily through this tragic incident."

Submitted by Donna Heimbecker
Submitted by Donna Heimbecker

The victim of the shooting hasn't been identified by police.

Donna said in an interview that Justin has faced trauma, including when his mother died in a tragic accident when he was two, and that they were aware he had been facing issues with stress and anxiety in recent weeks.

"All of these traumas throughout our lifetime impact who we are today and, sadly, Justin was struggling with mental health issues. Had we known the day that these events took place, maybe there's something we could have done," Donna said, adding they hadn't been in contact with Justin on Friday.

She said the family was close with Justin and he even spoke with his grandma, who raised him, on the day before the shooting about his day and "he didn't seem distraught at that time."

"There [were] no indicators."

RCMP's major crimes unit was in the early stages of the investigation, Mandy Maier, an RCMP spokesperson, told CBC News on Friday.

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