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‘The world was robbed of an angel’: Friends of innocent road rage victim still in shock

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Tributes and donations are pouring in for the Calgary mother of five who was killed in a senseless tragedy. She was innocent, losing her life in a road rage shootout in Forest Lawn on Tuesday night. As Jill Croteau reports, family and friends say they will do everything they can to support her surviving children – May 12, 2022

Angela McKenzie was less than 20 minutes from home when the unthinkable happened.

The 40-year-old mother of five was an innocent victim in what police are calling a road rage incident, which happened in Forest Lawn on Tuesday night.

Police said two cars were driving erratically south 36 Street S.E. and shooting at each other when one struck the silver van McKenzie was driving, at the 17 Avenue S.E. intersection.

Read more: Innocent woman dead after road rage shooting in Forest Lawn: Calgary police

Abe Wolvers Jr. said when he met McKenzie’s parents over 20 years ago, they quickly became family.

“I’ve helped her bury her dad and then the loss of her husband and everything. Just watching what this family is going through is breaking my heart,” Wolvers Jr. said.

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Angela McKenzie. Courtesy: Abe Wolvers Jr.

He is still coming to grips with the reality she is gone.

An initial police inspection of McKenzie’s van revealed it wasn’t struck by any of the gunfire. Despite the efforts of emergency responders, McKenzie was declared dead on the scene of the collision.

Her children are now orphaned after losing both of their parents less than three months apart. They lost their father this past February.

Angela’s friend, Abe Wolvers Jr. Jill Croteau/Global News

“Unfortunately, my legacy for this family is I build their urns. When I go home I’ll spend the next couple days in my shop building her an urn, that’s how I honour them,” Wolvers Jr. said.

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Jess Conolly is one of McKenzie’s childhood friends and built a lifetime of memories with her, starting when she was three years old.

Angela and Jess and her sister when they were young. Courtesy: Jess Conolly

“One day Angela comes to my front door and says, ‘Hi, I’m Angela, welcome to their neighborhood.’ We were friends from then on,” Conolly said.

“She was the apple of her kids’ eyes, they were so close and after the passing of their father they were even closer,” Conolly said.

“She was mother hen and she really just took care of everybody.”

Friends and family say it’s now time to take care of what she can’t, support her kids.

Angela McKenzie, a single mother of five. Supplied by family

“When their dad died – he died of cancer – I promised big Larry I would look after his girls, his wife, his daughter and his grandkids and I keep my promise,” Wolvers Jr. said.

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The family is grateful for the overwhelming donations towards the children’s future. A gofundme continues to grow by the hour.

“There’s nothing else we can do (but) love them, make sure they have what they need so they can aspire to the greatness they are destined to have,” Wolvers Jr. said.

Click to play video: 'Calgary police still searching for suspect in deadly road rage shooting, crash' Calgary police still searching for suspect in deadly road rage shooting, crash
Calgary police still searching for suspect in deadly road rage shooting, crash – May 12, 2022

A statement from the family issued Friday thanked the community for the outpouring of support, including from donations to the crowdfunding page.

“The money collected from the GoFundMe page will be used to directly support the children for their immediate needs as well as set up in trust for their future benefit,” the statement read. “The level of support so far has been truly overwhelming.”

The statement identified the father of the children as Tyrel Shaw, who died in February.

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“And while these wounds are still fresh, we are comforted in knowing that we are blessed by the legacy Angela and Tyrel left behind in their young family. Angela’s heart was for her family and especially her children, so as we mourn Angela and honour her legacy by surrounding the children with love, we ask for everyone to respect the privacy of the children and our family during this difficult time,” the statement said.

The family recognized the ongoing efforts from the Calgary Police Service in investigating what they called a “heinous incident” that found McKenzie “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and said one person police believe to be responsible is still at large.

“We ask anyone who has any information about the incident to please come forward and report this information to the Calgary Police Service.”

Investigation continues

The Calgary Police Service continues to investigate Tuesday evening’s deadly road rage incident, involving “several areas of the service,” Staff Sgt. Sean Gregson said in a statement on Thursday.

The two vehicles that were chasing each other — a silver 2021 Volkswagen Jetta sedan and a red 2021 Chevrolet Silverado pickup — are still being forensically examined.

That pickup was revealed to be stolen.

And while eyewitness information indicated two people fled the truck, CCTV footage was inconclusive.

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Police released a description and images of a suspect from closed-circuit camera footage.

The man is described as being in his late 20s with a medium build. That evening, he was wearing a baseball cap and carrying a laptop-style bag.

CCTV images of a man police believe was involved in a shooting and crash in Calgary’s Forest Lawn neighbourhood on May 10, 2022. handout / Calgary Police Service

“This suspect remains at large and we encourage anyone with information about their identity or whereabouts to contact police,” Gregson said.

He said it was still too early to determine motive or connections between the people in the vehicles.

Police are asking anyone with information or CCTV and dashcam footage to contact police at 403-266-1234 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers.

“Even small pieces of information can have a significant impact,” Gregson said.

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–with files from Adam Toy

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