Maskwacis woman hit by bullets while in bed asleep

Beauval, Sask., man's assault charge upgraded to manslaughter after victim's death

A Maskwacis woman is in serious condition after being struck by bullets while asleep in bed.

RCMP said several shots were fired at the woman's home at around 5 a.m. Monday on the Samson Cree Nation, about an hour south of Edmonton.

Police said the woman was hit at least twice. Another woman and a child were also in the home at the time but were not hurt.

RCMP seized several bullet casings from the crime scene, describing the shooting as a "tragic situation."

"That's very fortunate that nobody else was hurt," RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Laurel Scott said. "It's very tragic and terrible she was hurt. Lucky nobody else was hurt."

Community in crisis

Police were present at an emergency meeting that was called at the Samson Band Council Tuesday.

"We're working with the community to try to sort out some of the situations," Scott said.

Coun. Kirk Buffalo said generations of trauma, caused in part by the legacy of residential schools, have led to many young people feeling lost at the First Nation.

"We've gone through many suicides, drive-by shootings, we've had murders," he said. "We have suffered, not just our youth now. I look at our parents and grandparents."     

Buffalo said the chief and council are constantly looking for ways to provide new programming and activities for youth — and Monday's shooting is another wake up call.

He said the community needs help from all levels of government.

'It is scary'

So far, police do not have any suspects and are doing door-to-door inquiries looking for leads. They are also asking people to come forward if they have information.

"It is scary. I don't even want to walk around," said Theresia Boysis, who lives at the First Nation and said she's tired of the violence.

Police said the victim, who they described as being from an "innocent family," underwent surgery at an Edmonton hospital and remains in serious condition.

In 2011, five-year-old Ethan Yellowbird was killed when his family home was shot at in the community.

Three years before, 23-month-old Asia Saddleback was wounded when bullets were fired at her home at the First Nation.

Police said there is no reason to suggest gang violence is escalating again but admit they have been busy responding to several calls at Maskwacis in the past few days.