Alberta Highway Shooting Victims' Funerals Set For P.E.I.
The two P.E.I. men killed last Thursday in a murder-suicide on a highway near Claresholm, Alta., were remembered Monday with a memorial game of catch at their former Charlottetown high school.
More than 300 people gathered on a sports field at Colonel Gray High School late Monday afternoon to play a game of catch in memory of Tanner Craswell, 22, and Mitch MacLean, 20, who were gunned down last week in Alberta. The pair were promising ball players.
After class on Monday, students and staff headed outside with ball gloves and balls in hand. They were joined by friends, family and community members — including Craswell's father, Keith Craswell, and Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee.
Matt Dixon, a former teammate of the two men, was also there to remember them.
“I think everybody in the province is kind of in a state of shock,” Dixon said. “They made an impression on not just ball players, but people who knew them outside of baseball, too. They made lasting impressions on everybody. They were both just great guys. Great guys.”
The game of catch was meant to not only honour the young men, but also to show support for their families. There were a lot of tears and hugs among those taking part in the event.
Principal Kevin Whitrow said the event was a simple one that would have meaning for the two men, who attended a baseball college in Lethbridge.
"To do something that the boys would love to do — and a lot of them would have even done with Mitch and Tanner — you know, just play a game of catch," said Whitrow.
MacLean and Craswell were shot in a car on Highway 2 near the Alberta community. The shooter, Derek Jensen, was the ex-boyfriend of Tabitha Stepple, who was also killed.
Jensen turned the gun on himself and was found dead at the scene.
Shayna Conway, 21, the only survivor of the attack and who is also from P.E.I., was driving Craswell and MacLean to the Calgary airport where they were to catch a flight home for Christmas.
Support for survivor
Family and friends are rallying behind Conway. Her sister, Courtney Crosby, told CBC News that Conway is scheduled to have an operation Monday. She is expected to recover.
Conway's former co-workers at the Charlottetown Mall Juice Zone are donating all their tips to help offset some of the expenses related to her recovery.
"Shayna is the type of girl that just lights up a room," said her friend, Rebecca Sanderson.
"Everybody that works here, everybody that comes into the Juice Zone, everybody just loves her. We just want to show her how much we love her and that we all care for her."
Crosby said the family is grateful for all the messages of support coming from P.E.I.
Funeral services for MacLean and Craswell have been set for later this week. MacLean's funeral will be at Winsloe United Church in Charlottetown on Thursday at 10 a.m. local time. Craswell's funeral is Friday at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, also in Charlottetown at 10 a.m.
Credit Union locations on P.E.I. will start accepting donations starting Tuesday from anyone looking to help the families.