Family mourns after young mother killed in Hobbema
Published Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:34PM MDT
Vernadee Applegarth sits on her couch, holding her 18-month-old granddaughter in her arms.
To the Hobbema-area grandmother, her life has suddenly become a bad dream.
Her house shows the reason why. The walls are sprayed with bullet holes and her daughter is nowhere to be found.
"I feel like I can't get up," Applegarth said. "I feel like I'm in a bad dream but it's reality."
Her daughter, 20-year-old Delena Lefthand, was killed Saturday after one of those bullets struck the young mother in the face. She was airlifted to an Edmonton hospital, but was pronounced dead soon after.
"I was behind her when she got shot," Applegarth said. "Then when all this was done, I got up and looked at her and she started bleeding and I started crying ... and she was going white and started twitching."
Lefthand's death comes after a string of gun incidents hit the Hobbema area over the weekend.
The violence began on Friday around 10 p.m. when Hobbema RCMP went to Applegarth's house in the Samson townsite.
Police say they found a man who had his arm grazed by a bullet, but he did not need medical attention for his wound.
The next day, police were called out to another gun complaint on the Ermineskin Reserve around 11:40 p.m.
Police would not release many details about the call, but say they arrested two men aged 20 and 24. A shot gun was also found at the scene.
Ten minutes later, RCMP received another gun complaint. It was for a shooting at a Samson townsite home. Officers soon learned it was Lefthand's home that had been hit again.
Cpl. Darrel Bruno said all three incidents are believed to be gang related.
"I don't think with regards to the girl herself was targeted, but that particular residence we believe was targeted," he said.
No suspects are in custody.
Lefthand's death comes as the First Nations reserve struggles to overtake the gun violence problems plaguing the area.
Just a few weeks earlier, the community of Hobbema launched a gun amnesty program in partnership with the RCMP and the Alberta government.
In April, 23-month-old Asia Saddleback was sent to hospital with critical injuries after a bullet pierced her stomach as she sat innocently in her Hobbema home. Her house had been hit in a drive-by shooting.
Bruno acknowledges the gravity of such tragedies.
"These types of cowardly acts are hideous," he said.
The family of the latest homicide says the danger of living in Hobbema haunts them even as they sit in their home.
Lefthand's father, Darren Applegarth, compares Hobbema to living in a 'terrorist town.'
"I just lay in bed and wait for the next shot to come," he said. "I don't even sleep, I just wait for the next shot. Prepare myself."
No suspects are in custody.
With a report from CTV Edmonton's Scott Roberts