RCMP confirmed Friday that the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy from Hobbema is gang-related, and a Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued for a suspect in the homicide.

Police said both the victim and the suspect are affiliated with gangs.

A Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued for Lindsey Allen Bruno, 19, wanted in connection to the death of 16-year-old Levonne Baptiste.

Baptiste died after being shot on the Samson Cree First Nation last weekend.

“We found an outdoor scene, it was not within a residence, anything else beyond that, we’ll leave because of the ongoing investigation,” said RCMP Insp. Charles Wood.

Officers were first called to a home on the Samson Cree First Nation around 4:15 a.m. on Feb. 2 over a firearms complaint.

When police arrived, they found Baptiste injured from gunshot wounds.

He was rushed to hospital, but died of his injuries.

“The investigation remains ongoing but right now the suspect we’ve identified is obviously who we believe is responsible for his death,” Wood said.

Bruno is described as:

  • 178 cm (5’10”)
  • 73 kg (160 lbs)
  • Black hair

Both Bruno and Baptiste are residents of Hobbema, located about 90 kilometres south of Edmonton.

Wood says co-operation and information from the community led them to name Bruno as suspect.

"The community dynamic in Hobbema is changing. These charges send a strong message that the people of Hobbema have decided to break down that wall of silence," Wood said.

"People are now coming forward with their information. We have built a sense of confidence and we will do anything we can to assist anyone who will talk," said Councillor Kirk Buffalo with the Samson Cree Nation.

It's a 'wall of silence' that has left many murders unsolved on the First Nation.

Police say at one time there were believed to be as many as 13 gangs in the area, with as many as 300 members.

"Currently we believe there are three main gangs with approximately 100 members," Wood said.

"The gang situation it is a very fluid and dynamic situation. It fluctuates over the years."

Police say Bruno should not be approached, and ask anyone who has seen the suspect or knows of his whereabouts to contact Hobbema RCMP at 780-585-4600 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).Wi

With files from David Ewasuk