'Took my best friend:' Wife recalls husband's shooting outside Red Deer Walmart | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Took my best friend:' Wife recalls husband's shooting outside Red Deer Walmart

December 23, 2019 - 6:00 PM

RED DEER, Alta. - The wife of a man who was fatally shot outside a Walmart in central Alberta says she has lost her best friend.

Charles James Williams, 69, was shot about 60 metres away from the front entrance of the store in Red Deer on Friday night in what police believe was a robbery gone wrong.

He was rushed in critical condition to hospital, where he died.

Roxine Williams told CTV News that she and her husband had stopped at the store to pick up deodorant. He was getting back in the car when she says she heard a pop.

"He slammed the door and said, 'Stay there,'" she said.

Williams heard a few more pops and, when she felt it was safe to leave the vehicle, saw her husband of 44 years on the ground.

"They took my best friend," she said. "My husband, my travel partner. They took him away from me."

Police initially said the shooting was targeted, but said Monday that it appears to have been a robbery attempt.

"Red Deer is a safe community," said Insp. Mark Groves, who's the acting officer in charge for the Red Deer RCMP. "This is a terrible incident, but this is also a very rare thing to happen in our city. A random shooting ... such as this doesn't happen in our city very often."

Police said there was an altercation, Williams was shot by a modified semi-automatic rifle and the suspect fled in a stolen black SUV driven by a woman.

"As the black SUV was driving away, the male shot at two other persons in the parking lot," said Groves. "Fortunately these bullets did not strike the intended victims. He continued to shoot randomly as they departed the parking lot."

He said bystanders, many out to Christmas shop, and police performed first aid on Williams until an ambulance arrived.

RCMP from Rimbey, which is about 60 kilometres away, later received a report of a stolen red Chevrolet pickup truck. Both it and the black SUV were spotted from the air. They were stopped by officers on the ground using spike belts.

"Both the male and the female were arrested in the area," said Groves.

Chase Freed, 18, of Red Deer faces charges that include second-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, failure to stop for a police officer and theft of a vehicle.

"Numerous firearms-related offences are also pending," Groves said.

Crystal Maurice, 30, also of Red Deer, faces charges that include accessory after the fact to murder, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and theft of a vehicle.

Both are in custody and are set to appear in court in January. (CTV Edmonton, The Canadian Press)

This report by the Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2019

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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