Two of the four adults taken into custody Jan. 25 following a six-hour standoff with RCMP at a Morley residence faced a hearing at the Cochrane Provincial Courts on Tuesday.
Sedrick Marian Powderface, 33, was arrested on an existing warrant, and now faces 18 charges as a result of this incident, including careless use of a firearm, possession of a weapon contrary to an order and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Sidney Dion Wesley-Beaver, 24, was arrested on an existing warrant, and now faces five charges as a result of this incident, including careless use of a firearm and possession of weapons for a dangerous purpose.
The other two adult females were released without charge.
Last Thursday, while officers were conducting an investigation at a residence in Morley, the Cochrane RCMP recognized a male within the residence who was wanted on several prior arrest warrants.
The RCMP made an application for a warrant to enter the residence and the situation escalate. It was determined the suspect was armed and shots were fired within the residence. Given the potential for violence, the Cochrane RCMP requested the assistance of the RCMP Emergency Response Team, bringing armoured vehicles and heavily armed police to the reserve.
The nearby Nakoda Elementary and Morley Community schools went under lockdown while homes nearby were evacuated and the residents sent to the school gymnasium.
The situation began at approximately 9:50 a.m., according to RCMP.
By 10 a.m. Jenny Clarke, a grandmother and great grandmother of multiple children in both schools, received a text message from her granddaughter, working at a gas bar near the schools, describing SWAT-like vehicles entering the community.
“There’s cop cars all over, keep your doors locked. I’m not sure what’s happening,’” Clarke recalls the text message reading.
During the daylong standoff, gunshots were heard coming from inside the suspect residence.
The Cochrane Eagle heard from sources that parents and guardians were permitted to retrieve their children from the schools. By noon, many of Clarke’s grandchildren and great grandchildren were picked up and brought to her home, where she normally babysits them after school.
“They were very traumatized. My great grandchildren came looking like they had seen a ghost,” Clarke said. “I usually give them snacks when they come in and then I make supper. They wouldn’t eat neither. They kept talking about the teachers and principal saying they were ‘having a practice lockdown, do as your teacher says,’ and they were really scared because they knew there was something wrong.”
Greg Twoyoungmen said his son, Tason, who attends Morley Community School said he could see the event from the windows.
Within this time frame, homes in the trailer complex where the standoff took place were evacuated and residents were taken to the community gymnasium.
Ken Christensen, Stoney Nation CAO, said provisions were provided for evacuees.
“It was a serious event, many people were evacuated from the homes. We had an emergency plan in place,” Christensen said. “We had already purchased some supplies and were making provisions to feed people from Subway.”
The nearby Eagle’s Nest Family Shelter – a women’s shelter – confirmed the organization was also under lockdown.
“No one was injured in this event and the decision to evacuate students was done out of an abundance of caution,” read an RCMP news release.
Christensen said he was pleased that precautions were taken.
“The community really came together actually. We have a good security operation and an emergency plan so everything was put in place. I have to compliment the RCMP, too,” he added, noting he was grateful the incident came to an end without anyone getting hurt.
However, Christensen said Stoney Tribal Council have been working on policing, bylaws and overall community safety but are concerned that there are not enough full time policing staff in the Morley community.
Currently the community has two police officers and the backup of Cochrane RCMP but Christensen said it is inadequate for a community this size.
“The RCMP does a great job but resources are pretty thin.”
He added that the council administration received a letter from the minister of public safety indicating there will be an increase in funding, however Stoney Tribal administration is waiting to see what that will mean.
Clarke said she hopes to see changes citing worries over an increase in crime in the community.
“We need to stand together as a community and find a better way to help some of the ones (living) in the nightmare they’ve created for themselves,” she said. “I’m still worried. Even if the individuals who created this are apprehended, that’s not to say there’s not more out there. It’s kind of a chain reaction of a copycat of what’s happening.”