A Stettler mother walking along Highway 12 on her way home Monday morning sustained a gunshot wound and remains in hospital.
RCMP said the gunman later killed himself after an eight-hour standoff with police just east of Castor.
“It was a random incident,” said Doris Stapleton, media-relations specialist for RCMP K Division.
After leaving Bill’s Farm Supply, where the victim left her lawnmower for repairs, she was approached and shot by a man who tried to lure her into his truck, and she refused, witnesses told police.
The woman, identified as Krista Dryden, is in her 30s. She was taken to the Stettler hospital and transported to Foothills Hospital in Calgary by STARS air ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Calgary hospital refused to release further information on the victim, whose friends said she was shot in the shoulder.
“Tragically, the suspect in this incident passed away as a result of a self-infl icted gunshot wound,” said Staff-Sgt. Shawn Lemay of RCMP K Division strategic communications.
Stapleton said the shooter was a 31-year-old man from Red Deer. Later Tuesday, the man was identified as funeral director Dustin Goddu, a father of two.
The Edmonton Journal reported Tuesday night that a member of Goddu’s family said the gunman left his Red Deer home early Monday morning after being told he had been accused of a sexual act with an unrelated child.
Police found the body of the suspect at about 6 p.m. Monday in a wooded area near Fleet, about 15 kilometers east of Castor and 80 kilometres east of Stettler.
“Every effort was made by police to end this in a different way,” Stapleton said.
Police from Stettler and Coronation assisted the RCMP Emergency Response Team from Red Deer with the police dog unit and Edmonton Air Services to contain the suspect in the standoff in the Fleet area, about 15 kilometres east of Castor on Highway 12.
Stettler RCMP initially responded to a report of a shooting at about 9 a.m. before the lengthy pursuit of the suspect began, though Stapleton noted that excessive speed was not used by police.
“A suspect was located, but fled from responding officers,” said Staff-Sgt. Lemay.
Employed at Contact Safety, the Stettler victim faced her own safety in the incident.
Her injuries weren’t life-threatening, according to police and at least one witness who saw the incident unfold along Highway 12, as the woman walked home just east of the business.
Management at the business declined comment.
“She wasn’t laying down — she was kneeling and talking,” said Catherine Wishart, who lives near the scene of the shooting.
“From what I understand, she was conscious.”
Before the shot was fired, she saw the victim walking along the highway in the ditch toward her home at about 8: 30 a.m., said Wishart, who noted that she didn’t hear any shots fired.
“All I saw were vehicles driving by very slowly, and then I went outside and saw two police cars and two ambulances.”
Police combed the area until about 3:30 p.m., she said.
Reports indicate the victim didn’t know the suspect.
Schools were voluntarily locked down in Stettler as the incident began, and that lockdown was lifted as the highway pursuit travelled east.
Schools in Byemoor, Castor, Brownfield and Coronation were locked down until about 1:30 p.m., said John Bailey, the superintendent of the Clearview School Division.
Police said they didn’t know what prompted the shooting. Authorities continue to investigate the incident.
RICHARD FROESE, Independent reporter