On Friday, September 2, 2022, at approximately 12:51 a.m., Spiritwood RCMP received a report of shots fired on Witchekan Lake First Nation, Saskatchewan. Witnesses advised that a male in a grey Pontiac was shooting at a driver in a white Ford vehicle. Officers immediately attended.
Later that day, as officers continued to investigate this incident, a vehicle fled from police in the community around 2:00 p.m. Two occupants abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot into the bush. With the assistance of Police Dog Services (PDS) and the RCMP Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), a 31-year-old male was arrested.
As the investigation continued, officers from the Spiritwood Detachment along with additional RCMP resources including RCMP Police Dog Services (PDS) and the RCMP CIRT, assisted with locating the individuals responsible while ensuring the safety of the community.
On Monday, September 5, 2022, at approximately 7:30 a.m., Spiritwood RCMP received a report of a stolen black Nissan SUV. At 9:20 a.m., Spiritwood RCMP received a report stating occupants in a black Nissan SUV had stolen gas from a gas station in Leoville. All occupants were reported to be wearing masks. Police received another report stating an occupant of a black Nissan SUV discharged a firearm in the direction of a resident in the neighbourhood. The resident left the scene with no reported injuries. .
All available officers from the Spiritwood RCMP along with additional RCMP resources including PDS, ERT and CIC, were called to locate the black Nissan SUV.
Due to the imminent risk to public safety identified by investigators, a dangerous persons emergency alert was broadcasted to all residents in the Witchekan Lake First Nation and surrounding areas to seek immediate shelter.
Police began to receive numerous reports of a vehicle, a black Nissan SUV, driving dangerously and swerving into incoming traffic between the Witchekan Lake First Nation and the Pelican Lake First Nation. The suspect vehicle continued to evade police.
Shortly after 11:30 a.m., police located the suspect vehicle in a cornfield near the Witchekan Lake First Nation. Police were advised the occupant of the vehicle may be armed with a firearm. The vehicle continued to drive dangerously and at a high rate of speed in a cornfield. Police continued to follow the vehicle until it eventually caught fire and slowed to a stop. Police were able to locate and apprehend the driver, and lone occupant of the vehicle, without incident. Police confirmed the driver was not involved in the initial report of shootings. The investigation into locating the persons involved in the shootings, including gathering and analyzing witness interviews, continued.
On September 6, 2022, at 2:41 a.m., the dangerous persons alert issued by the Spiritwood RCMP was cancelled. As of September 7, 2022, Spiritwood RCMP charged and arrested three individuals involved in the incidents in the Spiritwood RCMP Detachment area between September 5 and 6, 2022. At this time, police believe there is no risk to the public in relation to this ongoing investigation.
31-year-old Dallas Sakebow of Witchekan Lake First Nation, is charged with:
- Theft of truck, contrary to Sec. 333(1) of the Criminal Code; and
- Breaking, entering, and committing – residence, contrary to Section 348(1)(b);
Sakebow appeared in court in North Battleford on September 9, 2022.
22-year-old Kelly Witchekan of Witchekan Lake First Nation is charged with 11 offences, some of which include:
- Possession of a prohibited firearm with ammunition, contrary to Sec. 95(2) of the Criminal Code;
- Carrying a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence, contrary to Sec. 88(2) of the Criminal Code; and
- Using a firearm while committing assault with a weapon, contrary to Sec. 85(3) of the Criminal Code.
Kelly Witchekan appeared in court in North Battleford on September 9, 2022.
32-year-old Shane Witchekan of Witchekan Lake First Nation is charged with 12 offences, some of which include:
- Robbery with a firearm, contrary to Sec. 344 of the Criminal Code;
- Careless use of a firearm, contrary to Sec. 86(1) of the Criminal Code; and
- Possession of a prohibited firearm with ammunition, contrary to Sec. 95(2) of the Criminal Code.
Shane Witchekan appeared in court in North Battleford on September 9, 2022.
33-year-old Melvin Starblanket was located by police on September 7, 2022.
The Saskatchewan RCMP would like to thank members of the public for their diligence in providing pertinent information relating to this investigation and for following the safety instructions in the dangerous persons emergency alert.
The investigation is ongoing.
The Spiritwood RCMP is asking anyone with information they may have on the shootings that occurred on September 5, 2022, to call the Spiritwood RCMP detachment at 306-883-4210 or their local police detachment. Information can also be submitted anonymously by contacting Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or www.saskcrimestoppers.com.