Man gunned down in his west Edmonton home remembered as loving father

·3 min read

The daughter of a man killed Sunday says her father could make friends with anyone — even whoever took his life.

Dion William McCallum, 49, was shot in his home in west Edmonton early Sunday morning. Police say they do not believe McCallum was the intended target.

His death has left daughter Jaye Campiou and her family heartbroken.

"He didn't deserve that, he was too nice of a guy," she said Thursday from her home on Alexander First Nation.

"He really would have made his way and made himself friends with that person. And I just want them to know that my dad's probably not even mad at you. I mean, he probably already forgives you.

"And he just — he just wants you to do right."

McCallum — better known to friends and family as Sonny — moved to Edmonton several years ago from his home at Île-à-la-Crosse, Sask., to be closer to his children. Campiou said even before the move he would make every effort to be there for her and her three siblings.

'Every single year he would make it to every one of our graduations, every one of our school plays, every one of our birthdays," she said.

"Even if he didn't have the money for it. He would hitchhike, he was that kind of guy who would make it happen."

Campiou said her father loved children and was always excited to see new babies and play with kids. He had a six-year-old son, Campiou's half-brother, and had welcomed his first grandson a little under three years ago.

"He was just a really big people person and kids were his soft spot."

Submitted by Jaye Campiou/Facebook
Submitted by Jaye Campiou/Facebook

McCallum worked as a bush firefighter when he was younger. He would be gone for months at a time but came back to share stories of his adventures, Campiou said.

A stroke two years ago diminished his ability to work. He took to odd jobs like fixing up vehicles.

"He could fix the vehicle just by listening to it," Campiou said. "He was very big into cars."

Campiou, who works in health care, limited visits with her father, who had diabetes, during the pandemic. But true to his sociable nature, McCallum stayed in contact with her, as well as friends and family, through virtual meets.

"It really hurts because I really, really miss him," Campiou said. "And I told him that the safest place for him during this pandemic would be inside."

The family is hoping to bring his body back to Saskatchewan, a task made more difficult by COVID-19.

"We're trying our best to make it work with the limited amount of resources that we have and the family that we have," Campiou said.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help raise money for funeral costs.

Trend in firearms crime

Police found McCallum inside a home after being called to an address near 105th Avenue and 157th Street around 6:15 a.m on Sunday. He died in hospital.

An autopsy determined he died from a gunshot wound. McCallum was not known to police.

Police are asking anyone with surveillance video, such as doorbell cameras or dashcam video, to contact investigators.

Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Brenda Dalziel said Wednesday McCallum's death is part of a concerning trend in firearms crime. She said Edmonton police investigated 158 shooting events in 2020, 10 of which were fatal.

In July, Coun. Sarah Hamilton asked city officials to take a closer look at the root causes behind the consistent high rate of crime.

"I don't want to say gun crime is new to the city but we have definitely seen an increase in it this year," she said Friday, adding that police would likely say the causes are complex.

"But helping us understand what's going on can maybe help us understand how we could affect it."