Two members of the Whitecourt RCMP are now facing manslaughter charges stemming from the 2018 shooting death of a man in Whitecourt linked to Valhalla Centre.
Corporal Randy Stenger and Constable Jessica Brown were initially charged with criminal negligence causing death in June 2020 after an investigation by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team. However, after prosecution of the case was transferred to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, those charges were withdrawn and upgraded to manslaughter on September 3rd.
On July 2, 2018, 31-year-old Clayton Crawford was in a house in Valhalla Centre when an unidentified attacker opened fire on the home. Another person was injured, while Crawford was able to flee the scene in a vehicle described as “distinctive”
The next day, an off-duty RCMP officer observed what he believed to be the vehicle parked at a rest stop west of Whitecourt. They provided the information to Whitecourt RCMP, who were looking to interview Crawford about the incident.
Shortly after 12:15 p.m., officers found the vehicle parked with what appeared to be one person asleep in the reclined driver’s seat. ASIRT says the officers approached the vehicle and a confrontation occurred, during which the vehicle was put into motion.
One officer fired their service pistol at the vehicle, while the second fired a carbine rifle. The vehicle left the rest stop, crossed the highway, and entered a ditch a short distance away. Crawford was declared dead at the scene, after sustaining several gunshot wounds.
Both officers were suspended with pay after their initial charges were laid in June.