Fears of gunplay surround the latest Freemen-on-the-Land incident being investigated by Alberta police.
A group of men, who describe themselves as sovereign citizens and not bound by government, have been occupying provincial lands south of Grande Prairie since June and have refused eviction orders, prompting the RCMP to urge caution and for people to avoid confrontation with the group, the Edmonton Journal reports
“My understanding is that there was two of them, but there may be more people,” said a department official, who asked to remain anonymous.
“It appears they may have tried to build their own structure and may have taken over someone else’s structure.”
Trappers have been confronted, intimidated, had their cabins occupied and even reportedly lost at least one trap line to the men, the CBC reports.
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Brian Bildson, of the Grande Prairie Trappers' Association, told the CBC trappers work in the wilderness alone and have to face down weather, predators and harsh conditions but, "We don't sign on for a bunch of crazy guys running through the bush, thinking they can declare a nation out there.”
Hunters in the area said they have seen the men carrying firearms, while shots have been heard in the middle of the night near cabins, "definitely trying to scare him, you know,” trapper Albert Steinwand told the CBC.
According to the Edmonton Sun, the Freemen-on-the-Land members have now taken over several trappers' cabins in the Misery Mountain and Karr Creek areas - a hive of activity for the trapping, logging and energy industries - and promise to defend the cabins and land, "with all necessary force."
According to canoe.ca, as many as three trap lines have been taken over by the group and Alberta forestry staff have been told to avoid the area.
Mounties have now moved in to investigate.
This latest incident involving the Freemen-on-the-Land movement comes one week after another self-described 'sovereign citizen' refused to be evicted from a Calgary rental property after he claimed the duplex was now an embassy.
Andreas Pirelli made headlines when his elderly landlady Rebekah Caverhill went public with her story and broke down in front of the country's press, the result of a year-long-struggle with her tenant.
After failed attempts to get Pirelli out of the home, the Freeman-on-the-Land was finally kicked out of the home when police got involved after learning Pirelli - who is also known as Mario Antonacci - was wanted in Quebec on similar grounds and for allegedly assaulting his then elderly landlady.
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Mounties Ambushed In Mayerthorpe
The noose was closing around James Roszko when four Mounties descended on his Alberta property on the night of March 3, 2005 to execute a property seizure on the farm. It was in a Quonset hut that Roszko laid in wait and ambushed the four members. When the smoke lifted, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constables <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/22/mayerthorpe-mountie-killer-no-parole_n_2933116.html" target="_blank">Peter Schiemann, Anthony Gordon, Lionide Johnston, and Brock Myrol </a>were dead, as was Roszko, who shot himself after being wounded in the shoot out. It was then the single biggest loss the Mounties had suffered in more than 100 years.
Detective Boyd Davidson, Calgary Police Service
On Dec. 20, 1974, a concerned storekeeper reported that a customer had become abusive when he refused to sell him airplane glue. When officers later approached the residence of suspect, they were met with gunfire. Backup units arrived to find the suspect hiding in a garage with an automatic rifle and plenty of ammunition. In the shootout that followed, <a href="http://www.calgary.ca/cps/Pages/Tribute-to-fallen-officers.aspx" target="_blank">Detective Boyd Davidson</a>, 43, died from a shot in the neck, while six other officers were wounded. The offender, who had a long history of mental illness and drug abuse, also died at the scene. At the time of his death, Detective Davidson was a 23-year veteran of the Force, who had been instrumental in the creation of the combined police and fire arson squad. He was survived by his wife and five children.
Community Peace Officer Rodney Francis Lazenby, Municipal District of Foothills
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/855-community-peace-officer-rod-lazenby" target="_blank">Community Peace Officer Rod Lazenby </a>was beaten and killed during a confrontation on Aug. 10, 2012 with a subject on a rural ranch who was illegally housing over 30 dogs. Officer Lazenby had gone to the ranch to speak to the man about the repeated offense when a confrontation occurred and Officer Lazenby was critically injured. The subject who was involved in the confrontation with him then drove him to a police station in Calgary. He was then transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The subject who assaulted Officer Lazenby was charged with first-degree murder. Officer Lazenby had served with the Municipal District of Foothills for three years after retiring from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with 35 years of service. He is survived by his wife and five children.
Corporal James Galloway, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Cpl Galloway responded with the Edmonton ERT to a call of a lone male barricaded in a home in Spruce Grove, Alberta on Feb 28, 2004. After being holed up for many hours in his residence, the suspect attempted to flee the scene, opening fire on the Emergency Response Team. In responding to this armed flight, Cpl Galloway was shot by the rifle bearing suspect. He succumbed to injury on site, as did the suspect, who was fatally shot by the ERT. <a href="http://www2.canada.com/edmonton/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=e1bb3110-32b6-4f3b-8767-59c61c200de0" target="_blank">Read More</a>
Constable Robert John Vanderwiel, Calgary Police Service
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/254-constable-robert-john-vanderwiel" target="_blank">Officer Vanderwiel </a>was conducting what was believed to be a routine traffic stop on September 22, 1992. While returning to his car to check some I.D. he was shot in the back of the neck. He died instantly at the scene. The suspect, a former policeman from Jamaica who was in Canada illegally was charged and convicted. His death re-emphasized the need for officers to alert the communications centre to their location and to forward license plate numbers of cars they pull over, particularly when working alone. Had he done this , the outcome would have been the same but had the injury been less serious the potentially improved response time could save a life.
Constable Ezio Faraone, Edmonton Police Service
On June 25, 1990, <a href="http://www.edmontonpolice.ca/AboutEPS/HistoryOfTheEPS/InMemoriam.aspx" target="_blank">Cst. Faraone</a>, who was assigned to a Tactical Team Unit, detected in an alleyway the vehicle used by two suspects fleeing an armed robbery. Cst. Faraone observed only one suspect with the vehicle. With his attention focused towards this suspect, a second suspect hidden from view in the backseat, exited the vehicle and shot Cst. Faraone.
Special Constable Gordon Zigmund Kowalczyk, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/233-special-constable-gordon-zigmund-kowalczyk" target="_blank">Special Constable Kowalczyk </a>was stationed in Alberta at the time of his death. On January 26, 1987, he answered a call to a gas station at 23:50 hours where a customer left without paying for $20.00 worth of gas. He located the suspect vehicle and was questioning the driver when he was shot execution style. He was struck in the head and body from a distance of approximately 3 feet. He was found by two employees of the Calgary Airport.
Constable Allen Garry Giesbrecht, RCMP
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/282-constable-allen-garry-giesbrecht" target="_blank">Constable Giesbrecht of Vegreville, Alberta </a>was shot and killed when four officers from the Vegreville detachment were called to a dispute between neighbours on January 13, 1985. The suspect, a 44-year-old male, had threatened a neighbour with a shotgun. The neighbour's testimony had led to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in 1981 on an assault charge. The suspect barricaded himself in his mothers house where he lived. Corporal Cornelius Kikkert, 37 was injured in the incident. Before entering the house, Corporal Kikkert telephoned the suspect and asked him to come out. He refused. The officers armed with shotguns, rammed open a door with an axe. A room by room search ended at a darkened bedroom. "You could see partly into the unlit bedroom." Kikkert said. All this time they were calling for the suspect to come out and talk. He didn't, so Giesbrecht took the step that cost him his life. A tense 18 hour standoff ended when police surrounding the house heard a loud popping sound. A television equipped robot was sent into the house and found the suspect's body. He had committed suicide.
Constable Bill Shelever, Calgary Police Service
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/253-constable-bill-shelever" target="_blank">Constable Shelever </a>had been out of recruit class six weeks. The rookie and his partner Constable Jack Pederson spotted a man at a downtown cabaret who fit the description of an armed robbery suspect on May 27, 1977. The constables escorted the man to their car and placed him in the back for questioning. Without warning the suspect produced a gun and demanded the officers weapons. During the second of two attempts to disarm him, Constable Shelever was shot in the head and his partner was shot in the leg and foot. Constable Pederson recovered enough to shoot and wound the suspect who was convicted of murder and attempted murder. He was survived by his expectant wife. As a result of this incident, Calgary Police upgraded to hollow point ammunition for their sidearms to improve stopping power.
Staff Sergeant Allan (Keith) Harrison, Calgary Police Service
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/252-staff-sergeant-allan-(keith)-harrison" target="_blank">Sergeant Harrison </a>was alone in his vehicle and responded to a hold-up alarm at a Credit Union on March 12, 1976. He was unable to contact headquarters because of a radio malfunction. The culprits realized that they were being followed and pulled over to force a confrontation. In a shootout he was hit in the abdomen. He died on the operating table. His killers, two men and two women, created a two day nightmare for police. They took hostages in a northeast Calgary home. They traded the hostages for cigarettes and drugs. One suspect died of an overdose. One suspect survived an overdose and was convicted of murder, multiple kidnapping, and break and enter. Two others were convicted of the same charges.
Corporal Donald Archibald Harvey, RCMP
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/23-corporal-donald-archibald-harvey" target="_blank">Corporal Harvey - killed June 23, 1967 - </a>was stationed in Alberta at the time of his death. He was shot to death when he and another policeman went to a city home to investigate telephone reports of a shooting. The body of a woman who had been shot was found in the home after a man inside tossed out a rifle and surrendered to police.
Constable Gordon Donald Pearson, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/18-constable-gordon-donald-pearson" target="_blank">Constable Pearson </a>was investigating a report of a fight at the Holly Esso Café in Alberta on November 22, 1966. Upon completion of his taking statements and speaking with persons at the scene, a native male fitting the description of the perpetrator entered the Café carrying a rifle at his side. Pearson turned toward the individual who raised the 303 rifle. Pearson tried to grab the weapon but the suspect fired, hitting him in the wrist and stomach.
Constable Frederick Gordon Frank Counsell, RCMP
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/448-constable-frederick-gordon-frank-counsell" target="_blank">Constable Counsell </a>died of gunshot wounds in Parkland, Alberta. He was stationed at Lethbridge, Alberta at the time of his death. Constable Counsell was one of several officers that were dispatched to a residence where a suspected murderer was hiding. During the stand-off Constable Counsell was shot and died.
Sergeant Thomas Seller Wallace and Constable George Harrison
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/424-sergeant-thomas-seller-wallace" target="_blank">Sergeant Wallace and fellow officer Constable George Harrison </a>were stationed in Alberta at the time of their death. They were killed in a shootout with three men wanted for the murder of Constable William Wainwright of Benito Town Police and Constable John G. Shaw of the Manitoba RCMP who were escorting the trio to Pelly Detachment in Saskatchewan for questioning On October 04, 1935. After the murders in Manitoba the trio were tracked to Banff, Alberta in the stolen unmarked police car. After stopping a car and robbing the occupants the trio were confronted on the highway by police in search of them. One of the killers was fatally shot and found with Cst. Wainwright's .38 Revolver. An RCMP Dog tracked the other two into the bush. A party of searchers were fired on. Game Warden Bill Neish (a former RCMP officer) returned fire and critically wounded the remaining two suspects who were taken to hospital but later died. It is reported that one of the suspects was buried in an unmarked grave in Saskatchewan and the other two were not claimed by their families.
Corporal Michael Moriarity, RCMP
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/419-corporal-michael-moriarity" target="_blank">Corporal Moriarity </a>was stationed in Alberta at the time of his death. Corporal Moriarity and Constable Roy Allen were sent to serve a summons on a farmer that threatened to use a weapon on a Sheriff that was serving an eviction notice. He was shot in the back with a rifle on April 26, 1935. Constable Allen was able to get Corporal Moriarity into his vehicle but he died before reaching hospital. Reinforcements were called in and several gun battles erupted. The farmer fatally shot himself before it was over. It is believed that the farmer was unable to cope with the loss of his property which is believed to be the reason he took such drastic action against the officers.
Inspector Joe Carruthers, Calgary Police Service
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/248-inspector-joe-carruthers" target="_blank">Inspector Carruthers </a>was a third generation police officer with 20 years of Police Service in Calgary. Two detectives were being driven home by the Chief's driver on June 13, 1933. Inspector Carruthers went along. Enroute the officers noticed a call box ringing. They proceeded to a house prowling complaint. A suspect was spotted and Inspector Carruthers and another officer gave chase. Unfortunately Inspector Carruthers was without his pistol. Apparently Inspector Carruthers confronted the suspect. He raised his flashlight on the suspect. The suspect opened fire striking him beneath his arm and through his chest. The killer was never found. In 1957 The Herald printed a story that the killer was insane and in a mental institution. His identity was never released or guilt proven.
Constable Charles Nicolay Paris, Drumheller Police Service
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/721-constable-charles-nicolay-paris" target="_blank">Constable Paris </a>and another member were in a car chase trying to make an arrest of a bootlegger on May 3, 1923. With Constable Paris on the running board, the suspect attempted to shake him off by speeding and rocking the car from side to side. The car ended up crashing into a fence on the grounds of a new high school. A board from the fence impaled Constable Paris and it was necessary to free him with a regular handsaw. He passed away several days later.
Constable George Edward Osgoode, Alberta Provincial Police
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/379-constable-george-edward-osgoode" target="_blank">Constable Osgoode </a>died as a result of multiple knife and gunshot wounds while attempting to arrest a bootlegging suspect, on January 25, 1922.
Constable Stephen Oldacres Lawson, Alberta Provincial Police
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/377-constable-stephen-oldacres-lawson" target="_blank">Constable Lawson </a>was shot to death outside of the police barracks in Coleman, Alberta on September 22, 1921. Two people, a male and a female, were hanged for the crime.
Bellevue Café Shootout, August 2, 1920
<a href="http://www.crowsnestheritage.ca/history/bellevue/" target="_blank">Corporal Ernest Usher, RCMP, Special Constable Nick Kyslik Alberta Provincial Police and Constable Frederick William Evans Bailey </a>were all killed in a shoot-out with men being tracked down by the RCMP, the APP and The CP Rail Police. <a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/372-corporal-ernest-usher" target="_blank">Corporal Usher accompanied Constable Frederick Bailey, and Constable James Frewin </a>of the Alberta Provincial Police to the location of two of three men wanted for the hold-up of a Canadian Pacific Railway Car. The two suspects were spotted in a restaurant in the town of Bellevue, Alberta. The three officers confronted the pair and a shoot-out erupted. Constable Frederick Bailey and Corporal Ernest Usher were mortally wounded in the shoot-out. One of the suspects died at the scene and the other managed to escape but was later arrested by Canadian Pacific Railway Police. He was tried and convicted and then hanged for his crimes. A third suspect of the train robbery was located in the USA and extradited to Canada. He was sentenced to 7 years but died in prison of a disease before being released.
Constable William Leslie Nixon MM, Edmonton Police Service
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/368-constable-william-leslie-nixon-mm" target="_blank">Constable Nixon was the first Edmonton Police Service </a>officer killed by firearm. The night of August 29/morning of August 30, 1919 Constable Nixon was walking his beat in the vicinity of 101 Street and 104th Avenue just two short blocks west of present day City Hall. He had completed a routine report on the 101 Street call box at approximately 2:30 a.m. While checking near the Twin City Transfer Company, 101 Street and 104 Avenue, Constable Nixon approached a man loitering near the building. The man pulled a revolver and fired once, striking Constable Nixon's side below his left arm. Constable Nixon fired three distress shots giving the standard emergency signal before passing out. A patron of a nearby diner heard the shots and called the police. The time was approximately 3:00 a.m. Other police officers rushed to the area, finding Constable Nixon unconscious. He was transported to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, where he later died. After an arduous manhunt, the man believed to be responsible for the murder was convicted of several offences but not of Nixon's murder.
Constable Frank Beevers, Edmonton Police
On October 17, 1918, while investigating an armed robbery near the Northern Hotel, 97 Street and 102 Avenue, <a href="http://www.edmontonpolice.ca/AboutEPS/HistoryOfTheEPS/InMemoriam.aspx" target="_blank">Cst. Beevers </a>was confronted by a suspect who shot him and fled. Cst. Beevers died a short time later.
Constable Arthur S. Duncan, Calgary Police Service
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/212-constable-arthur-s.-duncan" target="_blank">Constable Duncan </a>met his death while he was on beat patrol July 2, 1917. He had reported in to headquarters at midnight but failed to report at 1:00am and 2:00am. When he failed to report the operator raised the alarm and the Sergeant went to search for him. His body was discovered by a citizen at 4:40 am. Four shots were fired at Duncan, two of which struck him. One in the chest and one in the jaw. Constable Duncan never had a chance to draw his gun. Despite the evidence at the scene and a $1000 reward his killer was never caught. Constable Duncan had served with the agency for 6 years and had previously served for 12 years as a police officer in Scotland.
Corporal Maxwell George Bailey, RCMP
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/359-corporal-maxwell-george-bailey" target="_blank">Corporal Bailey </a>was stationed in Alberta at the time of his death, on April 23, 1913. Corporal Bailey was shot in the head as he approached a suspect. He had led three Constables to a small cabin to confront a man who had shot at his neighbor. They were carrying a warrant for the mans arrest. The accompanying officers were, Constable Whitley who was wounded in the confrontation. Constable Stad who was also wounded and Constable Tetley.
Constable Francis Walter Davies, Royal Northwest Mounted Police
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/357-constable-francis-walter-davies" target="_blank">Constable Davies </a>was stationed in Alberta at the time of his death, on June 3, 1912. He was shot and killed by a drunken native Indian while confronting him about shots at a citizen who filed a complaint with police. The suspect was later turned over to police to answer for his crime. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Constable George Ernest Willmett, Royal Northwest Mounted Police
Constable Willmett was stationed in Alberta at the time of his death, on April 12, 1908. Constable Willmett was found dead from a shotgun blast to the neck and face. At the time he was on special night patrol investigating a rash of break-ins in Frank, Alberta. In spite of their best efforts the killer seemed to disappear. Bloodhounds were used along with private guards hired to assist in the investigation of the murder. A $200 reward was offered and an enormous number of officers searched the town and surrounding area with no success. Three years after his death a woman gave the Royal Northwest Mounted Police a tip which led to the arrest of two German immigrants in British Columbia. The men were originally questioned at the time of the murder but were able to produce an acceptable alibi.
Sergeant William Brock Wilde, Northwest Mounted Police
<a href="http://canada.odmp.org/officer/332-sergeant-william-brock-wilde" target="_blank">Sergeant William Brock Wilde </a>was shot by a native Indian named Charcoal, in Dry Forks, NWT, on November 10, 1896. It is said that Charcoal was on a wild spree that left death and injury everywhere he went. It started with the murder of a fellow tribesman that had been having an affair with his wife. At that time October 1896, a warrant was issued for his arrest. A posse was gathered but Charcoal was able to allude them for a time. When the posse finally caught up with him Sergeant Wilde confronted him. Charcoal fired on him wounding him. He then stood over him and shot him dead. Charcoal eluded capture once again. He was eventually detained by his own family. He was tied up and turned over to the authorities. He was tried convicted and hanged for his crimes.