BATTLEFORD, Sask. – Mounties in Saskatchewan are investigating a break-in on a rural property where a gunshot was fired at a home.
RCMP said officers were dispatched to the property west of Battleford around 5 a.m. Sunday.
“Initial investigation determined that an unidentified suspect has been observed breaking into an outbuilding,” said Staff Sgt. Rob Embree. “The same person is then believed to have discharged a firearm once at the residence, resulting in a broken window.”
No one was hurt.
Police dogs searched the property, but officers said they believe the suspect fled on foot to a waiting vehicle.
Concerns about rural property crime have been highlighted in recent weeks by the trial of a white farmer, who was acquitted of murder in the 2016 shooting death of a 22-year old Cree man.
A jury heard that Colten Boushie and some friends had been drinking before they broke into a truck on one farm, then headed to Gerald Stanley’s property to ask for help with a flat tire on their SUV. Stanley testified that he thought his ATV was being stolen.
He testified that after firing warning shots, his gun went off accidentally. Boushie was struck in the head as he sat in the passenger seat.
Since the not-guilty verdict, protests and rallies have been held across the country demanding changes to the justice system and to jury selection so that more Indigenous people are included.
It has also led farmers to raise concerns about rural property crime in the area around Battleford.
Embree said there’s no connection between the recent break-in and Stanley’s case.
“At this time, we can say that there’s nothing to indicate there’s any connection to that matter whatsoever,” he said.
The RCMP is trying to be proactive in addressing the issue of rural property crime, he added.
“We have a team that’s made up with members with specialized enforcement with investigative skills.”
The team analyzes crime trends and works with community leaders to conduct high-visibility patrols, track chronic offenders and tackle criminal activity in rural areas.
Embree said an investigation into Sunday’s break-in is ongoing with help from the RCMP’s forensic identification section.
— By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton