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Ethan Yellowbird Murder Break? Man Arrested On Samson Reserve, Near Hobbema In Central Alberta

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YELLOWBIRD
A five-year-old boy was fatally shot in this house on the Samson Cree First Nation reserve Monday morning, July 11, 2011 near Hobbema, Alberta. The boy was the grandson of the Chief Marvin Yellowbird. | CP

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- HOBBEMA, Alta. - RCMP arrested a man on a central Alberta reserve where a toddler was fatally shot while he slept last week, but Mounties say it is too soon to link the arrest to the crime.

Mounties say the man was taken into custody Tuesday night on the Samson reserve near Hobbema during a search of a home for firearms.

The 25-year-old man has since been released without being charged.

Sgt. Patrick Webb said Thursday that officers seized a magazine of bullets from a home after someone in the community came forward with a tip.

"The only charges under consideration for him right now would be firearms-related," said Webb.

"Our investigation is still ongoing in that community. A lot of people have stepped forward with information but we still believe there are people out there who have pieces that we need."

Webb said he Tuesday's arrest was definitely an example of the public getting involved.

"The connection on this is that the information that was provided to us, that gave us the ability to get the search warrant on this residence, came solely because people stepped forward because of the Yellowbird shooting. That information, whether it actually relates to the shooting or not, is still to be determined."

Five-year-old Ethan Yellowbird was hit in the head by a gunshot on July 11 while he slept in his bed.

The child was the grandson of reserve Chief Marvin Yellowbird.

Political leaders said they were shocked because the community has been plagued by gang violence in the past but had appeared to be making strides.

Premier Ed Stelmach echoed comments from Assembly of First Nations chief Shawn Atleo, saying aboriginal communities must take care of future generations.

Stelmach said putting more police in the community is not the answer, and the boy's death underlines the need to deal with the issues leading to gang activity.

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