German tourists shot at on Alberta highway not ‘intended targets;’ RCMP make arrest
The German tourist shot in the head while driving his family on a rural Alberta highway was not the intended target of the shooting, RCMP said Friday.
The 60-year-old German man and three family members were driving along Highway 1A near Morley Thursday when, according to RCMP, it’s believed a small black sedan pulled out to pass the family’s vehicle and fired a shot. He sustained a penetrating brain injury and underwent surgery on Thursday night.
Investigators originally said road rage was a likely motivator of the shooting, however, new information gathered on Friday has changed the direction of the investigation.
“Information to this point strongly suggests that this was not a case of road rage, nor a random incident,” RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Laurel Scott said.
“None of the occupants of the Durango were the intended targets of the shooting.”
She couldn’t divulge how police were able to track down the vehicle but thanked the public for offering tips.
“We’ll continue to take any tips from the public but we now have some more in-depth avenues of investigation to follow,” Scott said. “I can tell you this investigation is a large investigation and we still have a lot of resources dedicated to solving this.”
A vehicle believed connected to the shooting was seized outside a home in Cochrane on Friday thanks to tips from the public, and a man was arrested. Police are investigating his involvement in the shooting. The vehicle was towed away from the scene shortly after 4 p.m. and RCMP said it’s been taken for forensic examination.
“We were able to locate and seize a vehicle we believe to be associated to the shooting in the Cochrane area. So that’s a great breakthrough for us,” Scott said.
“There was a male, at the same property that we located and seized the vehicle at, who we arrested and we have him in custody. He is detained.”
Police said the investigation is extremely complex and dynamic.
“We have not laid any charges yet,” Scott said. “We haven’t determined what involvement — if any — this male had in [Thursday’s] shooting. That’s part of an ongoing investigation.”
Victim pulls through surgery
Police say the man who was shot could have permanent effects from the injury.
RCMP say a bullet penetrated his head, but he was conscious and talking when he was airlifted to a Calgary hospital.
Sgt. Tom Kalis says investigators have been able to confirm the gunshot came from a passing vehicle described as a small, older-model, black car.
WATCH: Tourist shot in head while driving near Morley, Alta., RCMP investigate road rage as motive
The shooting happened just before noon Thursday, about 60 kilometres west of Calgary.
Kalis says the tourist was driving a truck near the rodeo grounds of Stoney Nakoda First Nation when he was shot, causing his vehicle to hit the ditch and strike a pole.
Three family members who were passengers in the truck were not seriously injured, police said.
Meanwhile, the Alberta government is offering its condolences to the family. Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda also assured Albertans their government is working with investigators, adding that Alberta is still a safe place to visit.
“Pending whatever investigation there may be and whatever recommendations we may hear, we’ll act on those,” Miranda said. “But I just want to assure everyone that our province is absolutely a safe place to visit and we’ll continue to work with the authorities to get to the heart of what happened here.”
— With files from The Canadian Press
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