Matthew de Grood found not criminally responsible in Brentwood murders

Written by admin on 16/11/2018 Categories: 长沙夜网

DISTURBING CONTENT: This story contains descriptions of graphic violence. Discretion is strongly advised.

Matthew de Grood has been found not criminally responsible (NCR) in the stabbing deaths of five young people, after a judge ruled he had “lost touch with reality” at a 2014 house party in Calgary’s Brentwood neighbourhood.

READ MORE: ‘This isn’t the end’ – Brentwood victims’ families, Matthew de Grood’s parents react to verdict

“I take responsibility for these deaths…the victims never deserved to die,” defence lawyer Allan Fay said, reading a letter written by de Grood after the verdict came down.

“I am truly and deeply sorry for what I’ve done.”

Scroll down to read our live blog recap from reporters Nancy Hixt and Reid Fiest

READ MORE: Matthew de Grood trial – expert witnesses support not criminally responsible defence

NCR applies to those who are found to have committed an act that constitutes an offence, but cannot appreciate or understand what they did was wrong due to a mental disorder at the time.

WATCH: Matthew de Grood found not criminally responsible in Calgary mass murder. Reid Fiest reports.

Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, Josh Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, and Lawrence Hong, 27, were stabbed to death at a house party on April 15, 2014.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Remembering the Brentwood 5

De Grood sat in the prisoner’s box with his head down, sometimes looking up at Justice Eric Macklin as he read his judgment Wednesday. His parents, along with the families of the five victims, also listened carefully to the judgment. Many family members cried as the verdict was delivered and de Grood’s statement was read.

Read below for a letter written by de Grood, presented in court after the verdict was delivered:

View this document on Scribd

In his decision, Macklin reviewed information from an agreed statement of facts, emphasizing de Grood talked about “crazy theories” and that his “dominating thought was the world was ending at midnight.” Macklin noted de Grood told people at the party he was getting ready for the “apocalypse” and was watching for the moon to turn red.

He repeated what court heard earlier in the trial: that de Grood ate garlic at the party, fearing vampires, and reiterated de Grood had “superhero-like strength” as police arrested him.

Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of the trial of Matthew de Grood

Matthew de Grood trial: expert witnesses support not criminally responsible defence

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Matthew de Grood trial: expert witnesses support not criminally responsible defence

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Matthew de Grood told psychiatrist a voice said ‘kill them before they get you’

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Judge allows families to read tributes during Matthew de Grood murder trial

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Trial begins for Matthew de Grood



Macklin then reviewed the mental health assessments of de Grood, including testimony from three independent experts that suggested he suffered from a psychotic illness, delusions, and most likely, schizophrenia. Macklin added de Grood was certified under the Mental Health Act after his arrest.

Macklin said experts were unanimous in thinking he suffered from a psychotic episode, and accepted their opinion that de Grood suffered from a mental disorder at the time of the killings.

“He did not know or appreciate his actions were morally wrong,” Macklin said.

Prior to delivering the verdict itself, Macklin emphasized the law around an NCR ruling ensures people who have mental disorders are treated, not punished. He said an NCR verdict is not an acquittal, and that if there’s a risk to the public, steps will be taken to secure the person in question.

READ MORE: Matthew de Grood told psychiatrist a voice said ‘kill them before they get you’

Macklin called it a “difficult and tragic case” and praised the defence and prosecution for their sensitive approach.

Watch below: The families of the five young adults killed at a Brentwood house party in 2014 released a joint public statement on Wednesday following the conclusion of Matthew de Grood’s murder trial. Victim Lawrence Hong’s brother Miles Hong read the statement outside the Calgary Courts Centre

“You have honoured their memories,” Macklin said, referring to the victims. To de Grood, he said: “I wish you good luck.”

De Grood will be detained in a psychiatric facility pending instructions by the Alberta Review Board. Court extended the timeframe to 90 days for the board’s first hearing.

READ MORE: LIST – Canada’s prominent not criminally responsible (NCR) cases

Fay said de Grood will remain at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre, or another such centre, until such time “if it ever occurs” that the Alberta Review Board deems he’s no longer a significant risk.

“If they ever reach that point, then I hope that there would be gradual reintegration into society,” Fay said. “But if they don’t reach that position, he could spend the rest of his life in custody.”

Watch below: Matthew de Grood’s defence lawyer, Allan Fay, on the possibility of a high risk NCR designation

The 24-year-old pleaded not guilty to five counts of first-degree murder Monday.

The Crown referred to de Grood as a “killing machine” Tuesday, and said the murders were done with “brutality and ruthless efficiency.” However, Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg agreed with the defence, saying de Grood should be found NCR.

READ MORE: Families of victims read tributes in trial of Matthew de Grood, accused in Brentwood murders

LIVE BLOG RECAP: Global reporter Nancy Hixt has been tweeting the details of the trial live from the Calgary Courts Centre

Related

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  • Matthew de Grood trial: expert witnesses support not criminally responsible defence

  • Matthew de Grood told psychiatrist a voice said ‘kill them before they get you’

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How the Haida are using technology to keep their language alive

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Fallon Crosby has a dream — to help her daughter Bella learn Haida, the language of their ancestors.

“Some people say, ‘How can you say you are Haida if you don’t speak your language?’ So it’s really, really important that we succeed in doing this,” Crosby said.

But Haida is an endangered language. There are fewer than two dozen elders left who are fluent speakers of Skidegate Haida, one of two dialects on Haida Gwaii.

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Members of the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program (SHIP) meet every morning in a longhouse where they play a traditional game similar to bingo.

READ MORE: Global BC visits Haida Gwaii

“I come here cause it is wonderful for my soul,” Betty Richardson said. “It’s like medicine for my soul.”

If Richardson hadn’t been raised in her Haida-speaking grandmother’s household, she said she wouldn’t be fluent.

“My mother went to residential school for eight years so she was taught not to speak her language,” Richardson said.

WATCH: Fallon Crosby recites a special prayer and explains what she hopes to be once she learns the Haida language.

It’s an all-too-familiar story: residential schools robbed generations of First Nations of their language and culture.

Now, elders like Richardson, are diligently recording Haida words and phrases for a free app designed to teach the language.

They are also recording stories and books for children in their community.

READ MORE: In Haida Gwaii, benefits of aboriginal tourism are more than financial

While young Bella is being exposed to Haida in elementary school, her mom is studying it at university.

They are learning and growing together.

“Hopefully one day we will both be fluent,” Crosby said. “That’s the dream, I guess, that’s the goal.”

– With files from Linda Aylesworth

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State of emergency declared after moths eat 80 per cent of tomato crops in Nigerian state

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A state government in Nigeria has declared a state of emergency after 80 per cent of its tomato crops was destroyed by moths in under a month.

The moths are commonly called Tomato Leaf Miners or Tuta Absoluta.

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“In three local government areas, about 200 farmers have lost one billion naira worth of their tomatoes. So you can imagine the magnitude of the loss,” Kadua State Govenor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai said at a press conference on Monday.

One billion naira is roughly $6.5 million Canadian.

El-Rufai said officials have been sent to Kenya to learn how to deal with the pest.

RELATED: Invasion of bats forces Australian town to issue state of emergency

The loss of the crop is a devastating blow, because tomatoes are a staple food in the country.

The price of the plant has risen dramatically: a basket of tomatoes, which had been US$1.20 three months ago is now more than US$40, the BBC reports.

Kaduna state’s agricultural commissioner, Manzo Daniel, puts the price even higher.

A basket that contains around 100 tomatoes is going for 42,000 naira (US$212), he told AFP.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency calls the moth “highly destructive.”

It originated in South America, but has migrated to Africa and Europe, including Greece.

A farmer shows tomatoes damaged by the insect Tuta absoluta, in Herakleion on the island of Crete south of mainland Greece on April 25, 2010.

Costas Metaxakis/AFP/Getty Images

Nigerians have taken their struggle online, where they are mocking Spain’s La Tomatina, a festival that sees over 20,000 people join in a tomato fight.

“They are throwing gold!” one post reads.

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Calgary parents accused of not treating diabetic teen plead not guilty to first-degree murder

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WARNING: This story contains content some readers may find disturbing. Discretion is strongly advised.

Two parents accused of killing their teenage son pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in a judge-alone trial Tuesday.

Emil and Rodica Radita were arrested in February 2014. Police allege they denied Alex (Alexandru) Radita treatment for diabetes, which ultimately killed him. Court heard Tuesday Alex weighed 37 pounds when he died.

One paramedic testified Emil Radita told her he called EMS four hours after he found his son lying in bed, emaciated and cold to the touch.

Scroll down to read tweets from court in our live blog

Alexandru Gabriel Radita

Obtained by Global News

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    Police were called to the Radita home in the community of Citadel on May 7, 2013. The 15-year-old was found dead inside.

    The first witnesses in the trial were officers and paramedics who attended the home; photos of the crime scene were shown in court.

    Paramedic Deborah Baumback said there were between 15 and 20 people at the Radita home when she arrived. She said they were “praying and chanting.”

    Baumback said she went upstairs to find Alex in a bed in the middle of a room. Two men were also in the room, including Alex’s father, and Baumback said she asked the other man what was going on. She said he replied, “no English.”

    “I recall the patient being…on the bed,” Baumback said. “Covered up to the neck under the blanket.”

    “I actually remember walking in the room thinking, ‘what the hell is that?’ … His eyes were open, staring at the ceiling.”

    Baumback said Alex looked “mummified.” She uncovered him to find he was wearing a diaper and a T-shirt.

    She described him as “extraordinarily skinny” and “extremely, extremely emaciated.”

    “Every rib could be seen,” she said. “He was cool to the touch.”

    Despite efforts to resuscitate him, Alex was declared dead by paramedics on scene.

    Baumback said she asked Alex’s father what happened.

    “He told me that the patient had been diagnosed with diabetes a month earlier,” she said.

    Baumback testified Alex’s father also told paramedics Alex was on two types of insulin and that he had chronic diarrhea.

    Alex’s dad told Baumback he came home at 6 p.m. the night before, saw the patient in his current state, called the church over, then called EMS at 22:07—four hours later.

    She testified she asked when the last time Alex saw a doctor. His father said a month ago, when he said his son was diagnosed with diabetes.

    Court had previously heard in the Crown’s opening statement that Alex was diagnosed with diabetes when he was three years old.

    A Calgary police officer who searched the home said she was looking for items related to treating diabetes, and found several boxes of insulin syringes, which were nearly full.

    Cst. Jean Dewitt said officers seized baby food from the home, and believed that’s what the teen may have been fed.

    A letter believed to be written by one of Alex’s siblings was found in a recycling bin outside the home. In part, the letter said the boy saw his brother’s face and it was “scary.” The letter said he grabbed his hand and prayed, then looked at his face and “he looked dead.”

    Global’s transcription of the letter presented in court Tuesday:

    “I walked past my mom’s room, I saw her lifting my brother Alex. I saw his face, it was so scary. I went to ask my brother to pray with me so he’ll get better, I went ahead of him and grabbed my bible. I went to my moms (sic) room to read to him, I grabbed his hand and looked into his face. It looked like he was dead, I started to pray, my family heard and noticed, they started to pray … the Holy spirit said he was in paradise, my brother.”

    An autopsy revealed Radita died from a bacterial sepsis (Staphyloccus Aureus) from complications of neglect and starvation, due to the Type 1 diabetes.

    Alex was diagnosed with diabetes when the family lived in British Columbia.

    Crown prosecutor Susan Pepper alleged the young man didn’t receive adequate care from his parents, and that a doctor was concerned the Raditas were faking blood sugar readings to make Alex appear as though he was fine.

    Pepper said records suggested a steady decline in purchases of diabetes-related supplies. She said Alex was isolated from society, both physically and “psychologically confined.”

    The prosecutor alleged the Raditas failed to provide the necessities of life, and the boy died “painfully” and “profoundly lonely.”

    Court documents show Alex had been removed from the Radita home by child welfare because the parents weren’t properly treating the diabetes. A judge later returned him to his parents’ care.

    The union for social workers in B.C. told Global News the Radita file had been closed prior to the family leaving the province, which absolved B.C. officials of the responsibility to tell any other jurisdictions.

    Officials in Alberta said they were never made aware of a need for Child and Family Services involvement to monitor Alex’s treatment.

    Calgary police allege Alex was not given the necessary treatment once the family moved to the city, and the teen’s health declined to the extent that he was confined to his room and subsequently died.

    He was home-schooled and did not have a family doctor in Alberta, and police allege he had never seen a physician in the province.

    Although the motive for allegedly not providing treatment is unknown, police said they didn’t believe it was based on religious beliefs.

    Diabetes specialist and University of Calgary professor of medicine Dr. David Lau told Global News the death shocked him.

    “It’s totally unconscionable that a person with diabetes—be it Type 1 or 2—would die from not receiving proper treatment,” said Lau in 2014, after police announced the charges.

    The trial is scheduled to last five weeks.

    LIVE BLOG: Global News’ Jill Croteau is live at the trial of Emil and Rodica Radita, who are charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of their diabetic son, Alex Radita.

    With files from Jill Croteau

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John Oliver pokes fun at Chechen strongman’s lost cat Instagram post. It didn’t go over well.

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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov didn’t take kindly to comedian John Oliver making fun of him for posting about his lost cat on Instagram.

The 39-year-old, described as a “ruthless” ruler and repeatedly accused of violating human rights and cracking down on press freedom and political dissent, has spent the past two weeks waiting for his tiger-like cat to come home.

READ MORE: Trump, Putin share an embrace in Lithuanian street art

He took to his Instagram account May 20 to make a public plea for any information about his feline companion.

A translation of Kadyrov’s Instagram post, via the Moscow Times, reads:

“We all thought that he would reappear, since he is very attached to the children and loves to play with them and go out with them in the yard. But now we have begun to seriously worry. Perhaps he is with someone nearby. That person may not know how to find the owners. I am sure that no one needs someone else’s cat. Therefore, we would be grateful for any information. Thanks in advance.”

The wayward feline is a toyger, short for “toy tiger.” It’s a cross of a Bengal cat and a domestic shorthair cat, bred to look like a tiger.

Oliver poked fun at Kadyrov Sunday night during the weekly broadcast of his HBO program Last Week Tonight.

“Kadyrov being upset about his lost cat is not good. This is a man whose security forces have been accused of kidnappings and torture, and whose Wikipedia page has an entire section dedicated to accusations of human rights abuses,” the comedian noted, before taking a couple of jabs at the content Kadyrov’s Instagram account.

“It’s not just where he announced that he lost his cat, it’s also where he keeps his 1.8 million followers updated with videos of his workout routine set to the finest European rave music,” said Oliver before going on to describe Kadyrov as “a can of Monster energy drink come to life.”

READ MORE: Azerbaijan throws some shade at Kim Kardashian after Armenia posts

Kadyrov’s Instagram account is notorious: at times described as “creepy” and “weird“, his account has everything from pics of him wrestling in the snow and frolicking in the leaves, to cuddling baby animals and posing with assault weapons.

“Honestly, I cannot recommend his Instagram account enough,” Oliver said. “It almost makes you forget he was once accused of beating a prisoner with a shovel handle before executing him… Almost, but not quite.”

That was a claim by Kadyrov’s defector former bodyguard, Umar S. Israilov, made before he was murdered on a street in Vienna in 2009.

Kadyrov was appointed leader of the Chechen Republic by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007.

His close ties with Putin were also fodder for Oliver’s jokes – something that wasn’t all that hard to do given the ubiquity of Putin’s visage on the account.


READ MORE: Putin-themed cafe opens in Siberia, features NATO leaders in bathrooms

The jabs pushed Kadyrov to take to Instagram once more, in English no less, to hit back at Oliver and attempted to mock him.

Kadyrov posted an image of Oliver, with a Putin T-shirt photoshopped onto him, saying the comedian “got his wish to appear publicly in a T-shirt with an image of Putin, but not Obama.”

He heaped praise on the Russian president and criticized the U.S., accusing President Barack Obama of sparking deadly “new wars and bloody internal conflicts.”

As for his missing cat, he assured his followers that reports of the cat turning up everywhere from Iceland to New Zealand, and even the Oval Office, were false.

Follow @nick_logan

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More details emerge in Ashley Simpson missing person case

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NEAR SALMON ARM – It’s been more than three weeks since a woman suddenly disappeared from the Salmon Arm area in B.C.’s interior.

Now two of the last people known to have seen Ashley Simpson are telling their stories.

Brent Cox said the 32-year-old had been living in a trailer on his property with her then boyfriend, Derek Favell.

Cox said he and Favell have been friends for a long time so when Favell asked to stay on Cox’s property with his girlfriend, Cox agreed.

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Cox said the last time he saw Simpson was the last Wednesday in April when she was doing yard work.

“That day she seemed great and then right before I left for town, her and Derek got into a little bit of a fight. It wasn’t much of a fight. I heard Ashley yelling a little bit and I asked her to keep it down,” said Cox.

Read More: ‘Somebody knows something’: mother of missing woman looking for answers

Favell confirms the couple did fight that day over money.

“We kind of had a bit of a fight. I ended up going to sleep. I woke up in the morning, I thought Brent had [driven] her into town or [driven] her down to someone’s to go spend a couple days,” said Favell.

“She had done [this] before where she had taken off at night and we had to get someone to go pick her up because she was walking. I kind of figured that she had done the same thing.”

But Cox said he didn’t know about Simpson leaving till Favell told him about it the morning after the fight.

“[I] came home that evening and nobody was here. The next morning I learnt from Derek that Ashley had left. He had received a text from her in the morning that she was gone and she would send for her stuff.”

Favell recalled that conversation with Cox this way.

“I told [Cox] that I’m pretty sure that she took off this morning. She had sent me two texts at about 7:30 to 8 o’clock in the morning…basically she was done with me and didn’t really want me and didn’t really want to have anything to do with me,” said Favell.

Simpson’s family was expecting her back in Ontario for a summer job. At first Cox thought she had simply left to head home.

However, now she has been missing for weeks and police say foul play may have been involved in her disappearance.

“The investigation into Ashley’s disappearance has not come up with much information to date. Normally with missing persons matters…a good percentage of them are located in short order. We tend to get information on their whereabouts or information as to where they were last seen,” said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

“With the case of Ashley Simpson the lack of information and leads, leads us to believe that foul play may be a contributing factor in her disappearance.”

Favell said he was “crushed” when he realized she was missing and he filed a missing persons report after learning Ashley had also not been in contact with her family.

“It has been pretty well hell for the past few weeks,” he said.

Cox said he has been doing everything he can to help including allowing search and rescue to go through his property.

“I let them through the home. I let them through the property, they took their dogs through. [I’m doing] anything I can do to help because I really feel for Ashley’s family and her friends,” said Cox. “I’ve got kids of my own.”

Read More: Mother pleads for public’s help in finding her daughter

On Tuesday, police issued as statement saying there is nothing to connect Simpson’s disappearance to the case of another young woman missing from the north Okanagan. Caitlin Potts was last heard from in February. Police say they haven’t ruled out foul play in her disappearance.

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Controversy flares over suicide barriers on iconic Burrard Street Bridge

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It’s one of Vancouver’s most iconic bridges.

Deconstruction of the railings along the Burrard Street Bridge is about to get underway but what’s going up in its place, isn’t sitting well with some people. One Vancouver city councillor is introducing a motion asking the city to reconsider plans for the new fencing, saying that there was no public consultation on the matter.

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“My concern on the public consultation process was there was none prior to us making a decision regarding the fencing,” said NPA councillor George Affleck.

“It came in last minute to council. Vision Vancouver voted in favor of it, the heritage community were disappointed and so the consultation was made after the process.”

The fencing in question is being put up to prevent people from jumping off the bridge. According to the Suicide Prevention Centre of BC, there are about 17 suicide attempts a year on the Burrard Street Bridge and say that while suicide hotlines are a great step towards prevention, nothing is stronger than a physical barrier.

David Fine is leading an online petition against the new fencing on change长沙夜网 and it currently has more than 800 signatures.

“In Toronto the Bloor Viaduct is the second worse spot in North America for suicides, and they put up fences there, and afterwards they did a study and found that although suicides from the bridge decreased, overall numbers did not,” Fine said.

“So you just push the problem somewhere else.”

There have also been concerns from the heritage community when it comes to the aesthetics of the art deco structure and views for cyclists and pedestrians.

“The heritage community has said very clearly that this art deco, this historical piece of architecture…  will be impacted by this fencing,” Affleck said.

“The second issue is from aesthetics from a pedestrian point of view and the cyclist. We have as our action plan to get people on their bikes and walk and this will have an impact on the beauty of walking across this bridge.”

Some opponents say there are other options, including netting below the bridge. The city says they consulted with a number of groups including the heritage community and BC Crisis Centre.

Councillor Affleck will introduce the motion at next week’s city council meeting.

~ with files from Grace Ke

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Welcome Home Warriors: National champs back in West Kelowna

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The BCHL West Kelowna Warriors arrived home Tuesday morning to a heroes’ welcome.

Escorted by police and greeted by diehard fans, the team bus rolled in just before 1:30 a.m. with their national RBC Cup trophy in tow.

“Everyone’s pretty banged up,” said goaltender Matthew Greenfield. “But it feels unbelievable to bring a championship back here.”

The team credits all the support from hockey staff, management and the community for their success, but first and foremost, they credit the unbreakable bond between the players.

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“We really became a family playing for one another and that’s why we were able to make it so far,” said goaltender Keelan Williams. “Everyone fought, fought hard so we could walk together as brothers the rest of our lives.”

The Warriors were never front-runners to win it all. Few thought they’d even make it out of the Interior Division. But the players believed.

“Right from day one we knew we could do something special this year,” said forward Kylar Hope.

In the moment the Warriors captain first hoisted the RBC Cup, while he was overjoyed, his first thought was for the city he represented.

“[I was] happy. So happy we could do it for West Kelowna. And this community wanted it more than us I think.”

Less than a handful of players are expected to return next season, so for most on the team, it was the perfect ending to a Cinderella season and their BCHL careers.

“We worked hard,” said forward Jared Marino. “Glad to say it’s over but it’s been an awesome ride. We’ll remember this team forever.”

Fans will have a chance to celebrate the team’s success and congratulate the players first hand this Thursday, as a parade is planned at 5:30 p.m.

It starts in the Mount Boucherie Secondary School parking lot, then onto East Boundary Road to Ross Road moving down Hewl Road and finishing at Royal LePage place where there will be a free barbecue.

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8-month-old infant allegedly killed in shooting by father in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS – An 8-month-old boy was shot to death in his mother’s arms Tuesday, and the suspected shooter – the boy’s father – remained at large, St. Louis police said.

The deadly shooting occurred shortly after 1 p.m. by an Interstate 270 exit ramp near the city limits, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said. The baby, Reign Crockett, was shot once as his mother attempted to escape a slowing car in which two other young sons were passengers, Dotson said. Police believe Diata R. Crockett, 34, was aiming at the mother, Dotson said.

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The victim’s brothers, ages 2 and 3, were found unharmed several hours later at a family member’s home in the St. Louis suburb of Bellefontaine Neighbors, near Ferguson.

The mother flagged down a passing motorist who drove her and the infant to an area hospital as Crockett pursued them, Dotson said.

According to Dotson, an 11-minute 911 conversation includes audio in which the unidentified Good Samaritan and the boy’s mother, whose name was not released, can be heard saying: “He’s trying to run us off the road. He’s trying to cause an accident. He’s following us.”

Crockett, whom police initially said was 35, remained at large Tuesday evening. His criminal record includes convictions for burglary, resisting arrest and forgery, online court records show, and Dotson said that “he may be wanted for a parole violation.” It’s unclear when Crockett was released from prison.

“He’s armed, he’s considered dangerous, and he’s used violence not only today but in the past,” Dotson said.

Police said the incident began as a domestic dispute at the couple’s St. Louis County home, also in Bellefontaine Neighbors, where Crockett forced his wife and three of their six children into the car at gunpoint.

Crockett was believed to be driving a black 2014 Hyundai Sonata rental car with Illinois license plate V446952, wearing a lime green shirt and green pants. Local media reported the car was found abandoned Tuesday night in St. Louis County.

Dotson said the shooting was the type of crime that “makes me sometimes question humanity.”

—;

Associated Press reporters Jim Salter in St. Louis and Maria Fisher in Kansas City contributed to this report.

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Alberta fire ban and off-highway vehicle restrictions eased ahead of long weekend

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The Alberta government said Thursday the fire ban and off-highway vehicle restrictions issued earlier this month were being eased in many areas of the province.

The government says wet, cool weather in some areas has reduced the wildfire hazard.

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    The fire ban and OHV restrictions remained in place for the Lac La Biche and Fort McMurray Forest areas. In the parts of Alberta’s Forest Protection Area where the fire ban is still in effect, portable propane fire pits and gas or propane stoves and BBQs designed for cooking or heating are allowed. All open fires are still prohibited.

    Cities, municipalities or federal lands like national parks may still have fire bans or restrictions in place.

    On Tuesday, wet and cool weather in the Lac La Biche Forest Area allowed the province to adjust the boundaries of the fire ban and off-highway vehicle restriction.

    As of Tuesday, May 24, the fire ban and OHV restriction will no longer be in effect in portions of the Lac La Biche area south of Fort McMurray.

    The ban and restrictions remained in place for the Fort McMurray Forest Area.

    The Alberta fire ban map boundaries as of Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

    Courtesy: Alberta Government

    A province-wide fire ban was issued May 5 due to extremely dry conditions.

    Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips said the step, while rare, was necessary to protect the dry forest regions and make sure essential resources aren’t being pulled away from other wildfires burning in Alberta, including the massive wildfire in Fort McMurray.

    READ MORE: Edmonton air quality affected by Fort McMurray wildfire smoke

    On May 5, Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee announced a province-wide ban on the recreational use of off-highway vehicles due to their fire risk.

    Larivee said the ban applies only to recreational use on public land and provincial parks, including designated off-highway vehicle trails.

    The ban did not apply to agricultural, commercial or industrial use, Larivee said. Nor will it apply to Indigenous people using off-highway vehicles for farming, business operations or traditional use.

    Watch below: Municipal affairs minister announces province-wide ban on use of recreational highway vehicles

    “Alberta is very hot and very dry. And we know that often, we have had in the past, off-highway vehicle use has led to the sparking of fires,” Phillips said during her media address Thursday.

    “Many Albertans have asked, ‘What can I do to help?’ This is something that they can do.”

    READ MORE: Where Fort McMurray fire evacuees can get help and information

    The province has also banned the use of incendiary targets, often used in target practice, on Crown land. These also pose a fire risk.

    “They look a lot like a coaster. You tape them onto a tree or something like that and you shoot them with a bullet and they explode,” Oneil Carlier, minister of Agriculture and Forestry, explained.

    The fire hazard map of Canada as of May 5, 2016.

    Courtesy: Natural Resources Canada

    Visit the government of Alberta’s website for the very latest information on the wildfire status across Alberta and the current fire ban situation.

    You can also download the Alberta Wildfire app for Android and Apple for real-time.

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