DINORWIC, Ont. — The widow of a 75-year-old Dinorwic man gunned down in their home says she still has problems sleeping as she comes to terms with what happened three months ago.
“I would just like to get answers,” Linda McLeod said in an interview this week with Thunder Bay Television.
“We lost a husband, father.”
On Nov. 5, 2020, McLeod’s husband, Rick, was shot and killed inside their home by their 48-year-old neighbour, Daniel Lethbridge.
McLeod said she and her husband were sitting at their kitchen table that evening when Lethbridge entered their residence at approximately 5:30 p.m.
“Dan opened the door and shot Rick once…I kind of ducked because I wasn’t sure what was going on and then Rick said ‘Linda’ and I went to turn around and that’s when Dan had shot him again.”
McLeod said Lethbridge looked at her for a few seconds before shutting the door and leaving.
She phoned 911 and mentioned to the dispatcher to send a fire truck, having seen Lethbridge’s garage was on fire.
“I was on the floor trying to revive my husband and my son came over because he had heard the shots,” McLeod said.
OPP won’t reveal McLeod’s husband’s cause of death at this time, saying certain information could reveal investigation sources.
Just days before, McLeod and her husband had been outside barbecuing when they heard a commotion between Lethbridge and another neighbour.
“Dan was beating up Bill and he’s 75 years old so Rick was helping Dan off Bill and everything and I guess they were doing a lot of yelling and screaming and eventually the cops came,” McLeod said.
She said Lethbridge was charged with having bear spray in his possession and for assault.
“[The police] had wanted to go into Dan’s place and he wouldn’t let them go so they had to get a warrant,” McLeod said.
On Nov. 4, 2020, OPP executed a drug search warrant on Lethbridge’s property in Southworth Township where 406 cannabis plants were seized as well as 19 firearms.
OPP on Nov. 5, 2020 in a news release said Lethbridge had been released from custody.
"I don't know if he got out on bail or if they released him. I just got home from work," McLeod said, noting it was shortly afterwards her husband was shot twice.
While OPP were investigating McLeod’s husband’s death, they were also called to a neighbouring property for a house fire. The next day, police located human remains.
Nearly three months after the discovery, OPP announced the Office of the Chief Coroner had identified the human remains as Daniel Lethbridge.
Lethbridge had moved to Dinorwic approximately five years before the shooting, McLeod said. Her husband and Lethbridge maintained a civil relationship and often times would go fishing together.
“He would come over for a visit…Rick would take him fishing as the years went, he was a very quiet person, liked to keep to himself more or less,” McLeod said.
But there were times Lethbridge showed a different side to people, McLeod said.
“One minute he would be fine, the next he would be creating problems, the next minute he would be waving to you,” she said.
McLeod said she is still in the shock stage as she tries to understand her husband’s death.
“I am not sure how to make sense of anything. I don’t know why he got out especially when he had all those guns,” she said. “Why didn’t they check his other property because he had a camp with more guns there.”
McLeod is also dealing with rumours surrounding her husband’s death in the community.
“People say Rick ratted Dan out which he never did, we never even knew he had all that pot in the house or any of that,” she said.
She hopes the police investigation reveals the truth, while also providing her with the answers she seeks.
“I want to know [the police] did everything right and didn’t drop the ball,” she said.
For now, McLeod has issues sleeping and is left only with the memories of her husband, a man she described as someone who loved to fish, hunt and always enjoyed life.
“He was always willing to help everybody,” she said.
OPP continue to investigate the circumstances of both deaths.
Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source