WARNING: Some readers may find some of the content and photos of this story disturbing. Discretion is advised.
Nine months ago, an Alberta man was shot and critically wounded after being at the centre of a tense and dramatic standoff with police west of Edmonton.
“The bullet’s still sitting on top of my C1,” Caleb Seeton, 30, says of the bullet that hit him in the head. “It hit the stabilizing disc on the side and that’s millimetres away from the brain or just disconnecting the spine from death or paralysis.”
But today, Seeton says his life is very different and that he is now addressing the issues in his life that led up to the event that nearly ended it.
He says he was suicidal at the time, overwhelmed by work problems exacerbated by Alberta’s beleagured economy.
“You’re used to the Albertan way of all this money coming in, the taps are always on. When they shut off, you start scrambling, right?”
On Jan. 5, 2016, RCMP were called to a home in the Greenbury neighbourhood of Spruce Grove, Alta. after receving reports of shots fired. The neighbourhood was put on alert , streets were blocked off and residents were asked to seek refuge in their basements.
Seeton fired several rounds before turning a gun on himself. He was taken into custody following a tense standoff, and rushed to hospital in critical condition.
Watch below: One person was taken into custody on Jan. 5, 2016 after RCMP were called to reports of shots fired in the Garneau Gate area of Spruce Grove. Shallima Maharaj filed this report on Jan.6, 2016.
Seeton says his depression at the time was intense and that while he intended to kill himself, he made sure nobody else was home at the time.
“Your self-value is just completely gone so you feel like you’re doing everyone a favour, like you’re just going to get out of the situation – leave – and you’re just going to be helping by doing that,” he says.
His fiancee, whom he got engaged to just last week, says she knew something was “off” after he sent her a text message that day. Their son Lincoln was with her parents at the time. Fearing something may be wrong, she went to the house with her sister to make sure everything was OK.
“He asked us to leave and then we sat down on the street, wondering what’s going to happen.”
Bullet holes were scattered throughout parts of the home, including the kitchen and living room.
“All these things that I thought I had built up that were so valuable to me, if I dismantled them, it would give me enough just to push myself past that point of no return,” he says.
Incredibly, Seeton survived his self-inflicted gunshot wound and is now receiving mental health treatment. He says he is grateful to the police and first responders who ended up saving his life.
“You know, I took a lot from the community that day, so if i could start giving it back, that would be a good place to start,” he says.
Seeton says he learned a valuable lesson as a result of the experience and wants others who are considering suicide to hear his message.
“It’s not the belongings you have, it’s not the car in your driveway,” he says.”If it all goes away, if you work hard, you can get that stuff back. If you have a family, you have people that care about you – that’s really what the importance of this is.”
-With files from Shallima Maharaj.
See photo gallery below: