Calgary police say an innocent woman was killed in what they’re calling a “disturbing road rage incident” in Forest Lawn overnight.
Police started receiving reports of two vehicles driving erratically on 36 Street S.E. just after 11 p.m. on Tuesday.
Witnesses said a 2021 red Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was pursuing a grey 2021 Volkswagen Jetta sedan, exchanging gunfire as they drove south.
Police said stray bullets hit at least two homes in the 1100 and 1700 blocks of 36 Street S.E.
The two vehicles collided with two other vehicles that weren’t involved in the chase at the intersection of 36 Street and 17 Avenue S.E. The drivers in the chase continued to fire shots at each other before fleeing the area on foot, police said.
The driver of a silver van — a 40-year-old woman — died on the scene.
Members of her family identified the woman as Angela McKenzie, a single mother of five.
The driver of the second vehicle not involved in the chase that was struck at the intersection was unharmed.
The man driving the Jetta was found nearby with two apparent gunshot wounds and was taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.
The two people in the pickup truck – a man and a woman – have yet to be located, police said in an update just after noon Wednesday.
It’s the 58th shooting incident in the city this year.
CPS Supt. Scott Boyd called the evening’s events a “tragedy” and “complete disregard for public safety.
“The actions and behavior of these individuals led to the death of a woman we believe to be completely innocent in this matter, a woman who will now be mourned by her family and friends. And it breaks our heart to think about it,” Boyd said.
“We are committed to investigating this incident and holding those involved responsible.”
“We need the help of community members to solve this crime. We cannot do it without their efforts.”
Boyd said it was too early in the investigation to link the incident to organized crime and committed to releasing any information – including descriptions of individuals wanted in relation to Tuesday evening’s events – as soon as possible.
He also said officers continue to speak with the man who was transported to hospital to determine his role that evening and to gather evidence.
Boyd said McKenzie’s cause of death is currently unknown and an autopsy is expected in the coming days.
The area around the intersection of 17 Avenue S.E. and 36 Street S.E. was blocked to motorists Wednesday for multiple hours as police continued to investigate.
Police reopened traffic in all directions just after 5 p.m.
The CPS superintendent said further details like speed of the vehicles and their positions during the crash should be revealed from traffic reconstruction experts.
Jillian Davidson heard the crash at around 11:15 p.m. and rushed to her balcony.
“We couldn’t see the cars, but I could just see one car parked,” Davidson told Global News. “So I heard lots of screaming of: ‘Call an ambulance. They’re dead. They’re dead. Call an ambulance.’
“As soon as the ‘call an ambulance’ stopped, then I heard five shots.”
Davidson, a mother of an eight-month-old baby, said Tuesday night’s events took her by surprise.
“I know this isn’t the best neighbourhood, but stuff like that doesn’t actually happen here that much.”
She said a recent uptick in gun-related crime in the city reminds her of the era of the FOB gang.
Discussions on her neighbourhood watch group seem to have turned despondent, too.
“A lot of the comments are: ‘What’s the point of even calling the police? But who knows what the root of it is? Do they not care? Do they just not have the resources to get to every one because the problem has exploded?”
The homicide unit was brought in Tuesday evening, though Calgary police tell Global News that at this point the homicide investigators have not taken over the case.
Officers checked on the houses hit by gunfire. They confirm no one in the homes was injured by the shots.
Police are checking area CCTV and dashcam footage as part of their investigation. They ask anyone with any footage or information to contact police at 403-266-1234 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers.
A crowdfunding page has been set up for McKenzie’s children. Their father died three months ago.
–with files from Jessika Guse, Global News