New Year’s Eve shattered by gunfire

The ‘pop pop pop’ people heard in Stettler shortly before 5 p.m. New Year’s eve wasn’t fireworks being set off

The ‘pop pop pop’ people heard in Stettler shortly before 5 p.m. New Year’s eve wasn’t fireworks being set off early, but was instead gunfire, leaving one person seriously wounded and another on the lam.

A 37-year-old Stettler man was airlifted by STARS to Foothills Hospital in Calgary with two nonlife- threatening gun-shot wounds, where he is now recovering from his serious injuries.

RCMP identified the shooter as Darren James Bauer, 33, who was already being sought on a Canada-wide warrant for 12 offences, some of which were issued by RCMP in Vancouver, Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer. After the Dec. 31 shooting, a warrant was issued for attempted murder, as well.

According to Stettler RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Duncan Babchuk, Bauer and the victim were “chasing each other” through town before the chase led to a loud smashing collision on 58 Street and 50a Avenue, behind the hotel and Dairy Queen. There, Bauer shot the victim twice before fleeing the scene in a stolen blue Dodge quad-cab pick-up truck.

Less than 24-hours later, though, Bauer was stopped by the Calgary Police Service in the truck, along with his girlfriend and kids. Though he was armed, he gave himself up peacefully and without incident.

According to Babchuk, the investigation was handed to the Airdrie RCMP’s General Investigative Service (GIS) unit, otherwise known as a plainclothes unit, because of the outstanding Canada-wide warrants and because it was the nearest RCMP detachment to Calgary. The Calgary police handed off the case rather than deal with it themselves because of the national aspect of the matters.

At the time of arrest, Bauer was found to be in the possession of drugs and firearms, including the firearm used in the shooting of the Stettler victim.

Bauer next appears in provincial court in Red Deer on January 9.