Residents of a village in central Alberta say they are shaken by a man’s death that is now under investigation by the RCMP.
At around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Thorsby and Breton RCMP were called about an injured man in Warburg. RCMP said the man was taken to hospital in Leduc where he was pronounced dead. His death is being treated as suspicious.
A neighbour who didn’t want to be identified told Global News he heard what sounded like a door being kicked down at a nearby mobile home, followed by what he believed were two gunshots.
He said he saw a man stumble across the street to a neighbour’s house, who called police.
Others said they could hear screams and cries coming from the mobile home.
The victim has been identified as 36-year-old Christopher O’Reilly. The cause of his death has not been released. Police said an autopsy has been scheduled in Edmonton on Tuesday.
Terry Shepperd has lived down the street from O’Reilly for five years and said he was a good guy and “a teddy bear.”
“I’m a little freaked out actually because it’s too close to home and it’s somebody that I see every day.”
Shepperd said she doesn’t know what led to the incident but looked outside Sunday night after hearing noises. She said at the time, just one police cruiser was parked outside.
“He was in pain and he was trying to hold on. You could tell that in his voice,” Shepperd said of O’Reilly. “He was just yelling. He was just in pain… In some words, I don’t know exactly, he said, ‘I’m trying.'”
Shepperd’s husband, Shawn Blackmore, had just returned from the store on what he called a “normal, quiet night” when he looked outside and saw the police.
“It’s actually rather shocking.”
Blackmore works out of town and said he’s now worried about his wife’s safety.
“I’m a little concerned. We don’t know what the basis is. But I do know that I’m catching a plane tomorrow with a possible homicide across the street for a home invasion. And I’m going to leave my wife here.”
The RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit has taken over the investigation.
A large area of the mobile home park was cordoned off by police tape and several RCMP vehicles remained on scene Monday.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Thorsby RCMP detachment at 780-789-3950. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
Warburg, located about 90 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, has a population of fewer than 800 people.