Calgary police are looking for two people in connection with what they are calling a road rage incident that left an innocent mother of five dead in Forest Lawn late Tuesday night.
Witnesses told police a 2021 red Chevrolet Silverado was pursuing a 2021 gray Volkswagen Jetta on 36th Street SE around 11:10 pm Tuesday.
Occupants in both vehicles exchanged gunfire as they drove, shooting stray bullets into at least two homes between the 1100 and 1700 block of 36th Street SE
The Jetta was driving southbound with the Silverado close behind when they collided with two other vehicles at the intersection of 36th Street and 17th Avenue SE
Those inside the truck and sedan continued to fire shots at each other before fleeing the area on foot, according to police. The two occupants of the Silverado, a man and a woman, have not been located.
“Once we have a better description of the individuals that we’re looking for, and any previously known history with the Calgary Police Service, we’ll share that as soon as possible,” Supt. Scott Boyd said during a media availability Wednesday.
Family friends confirmed the woman’s identity as 40-year-old Angela McKenzie. She was the mother to five children. Postmedia has reached out to family and friends for comment.
McKenzie was driving a silver van that was struck by the Silverado at the intersection. She was found dead at the scene.
“I’m sure in the coming days we’ll come to learn more about the tragic details,” Boyd said, adding he believed she was a “truly innocent victim.”
Boyd said police could not confirm how McKenzie died. An autopsy is scheduled for the coming days, he said.
“This is a tragedy for our community and a complete disregard for public safety. We are committed to investigating this incident and holding those involved responsible.”
Boyd said police cannot confirm whether the incident is connected to organized crime, but officers are investigating possible connections.
“We’re working on the connections to firmly establish any known entities, connections to organized crime or other.”
The driver of the second unrelated vehicle involved in the collision was unharmed.
The man who fled the Jetta was found nearby suffering from gunshot wounds and was taken to hospital in stable condition. Boyd said police are working with him to gather evidence and determine what role he played in the shooting.
This incident was the 58th shooting in Calgary this year, Boyd said.
“We’re dedicating all of the resources that we have to these types of crimes. It’s exhausting and taxing on our members,” he said.
Police say officers conducted wellness checks on the homes struck by gunfire and confirmed no one inside was injured.
‘I think it was a gunshot’
Chrizelle Maesanico, 21, was in her bedroom when she heard the sound of two loud bangs at 11:08 pm
“When that happened, I was so nervous. I called my dad right away and I said, ‘I think it was a gunshot.’ ”
One bullet pierced the family of five’s wooden deck, traveling through the window and the back of a chair in the living room.
Religious items with the word “Faith” sat on a shelf three feet above where the bullet chipped paint from the wall. The family found the bullet lodged in the door frame of their bathroom.
Maesanico also pointed out a chair in the living room.
“The bullet went through the chair. That’s where mostly my dad sits. Good thing that he was sleeping already, because that’s his favorite spot for him to sit.
Surveillance footage from the family’s home shows the truck and car speeding down 36th Street as passengers in both vehicles shot at each other, she said.
“In the video there’s more than 10 shots.”
She said her family hasn’t felt safe living in their home of 10 years for some time because of crime in the area, even before the bullet entered their home on Tuesday.
“I’m just scared. I was shaking last night,” Maesanico said. “We really want to move.”
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Mayor Jyoti Gondek said she is “saddened to a point I can’t explain” to hear of the shooting that police classified as a road rage incident.
“I’m still trying to get my head around the fact somebody would actually, actually shoot someone over traffic. I can’t believe that. Can’t believe it, saddened for this family that’s been impacted in this way,” Gondek said.
Police are working with community partners on holding town halls and informal groups to talk about gang violence. Considering many witnesses saw the shooting Tuesday night, the CPS victim assistance group will also reach out to people affected, Boyd said.
Police are asking witnesses, anyone with cellphone or dash cam footage, or any information to call 403-266-1234 or leave a tip anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
—With files from Jason Herring