Rocky Mountain House RCMP solve armed robbery investigation and lay charges
October 11, 2018
Leslieville, Alberta – The Rocky Mountain House RCMP utilized DNA evidence to identify and lay charges against two suspects in an armed robbery which occurred at the Leslieville Bar on October 14, 2017.
The lengthy investigation began almost a year ago following a 9-1-1 call received at 4:16 p.m. Two males reportedly entered the bar wearing masks and coveralls and carrying guns and knives. Several patrons were in the bar at the time and forced to stay inside during the robbery. A large amount of money was taken from the bar and the two males fled in a waiting Dodge Ram truck. RCMP attended and launched their investigation.
Following months of collecting witness statements, following up on public tips, processing various pieces of evidence and executing warrants, investigative results have led the RCMP to the following charges:
34-year-old Harvey James Lee-Bernick of Red Deer has been charged with robbery with a firearm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
22-year-old Austin Kim Derkatz of Rimbey has also been charged with robbery with a firearm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Both accused are next scheduled for court on October 24, 2018 in Rocky Mountain House Provincial Court.
The identity of the driver of the associated truck has not been established. The Dodge Ram truck has been recovered. RCMP continue to investigate in an effort to identify and charge the driver.
For Immediate Release
Rocky Mountain House RCMP – Armed Robbery at Leslieville Hotel
Leslieville, Alberta – On Saturday, October 14, 2017, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Rocky Mountain House RCMP responded to an armed robbery at the Leslieville Hotel. Two males entered the hotel, one armed with a sawed off long barrelled firearm and the other with a knife. The culprits demanded money from one of the employees. Both fled the hotel with an undisclosed amount of cash and quickly departed in a silver Dodge Ram truck. The get away vehicle was being driven by another male who was waiting outside the Hotel during the robbery. No one was physically injured during the incident.
RCMP continue to investigate this occurrence. If you have information about this investigation, please call the Rocky Mountain House RCMP at 403-845-2882 or call your local police service. If you want to remain anonymous you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), by internet at www.tipsubmit.com or by SMS.
Calgary police identify 15-year-old girl killed in shooting, investigation continues
Calgary (CP) – Calgary police have identified a 15-year-old girl who was fatally shot this week as investigators try to determine whether she was the intended target or if it was a case of mistaken identity.
Officers responded to reports of a shooting in an alley in the Martindale neighbourhood early Tuesday morning.
They say the teenager was a passenger in a vehicle when she was shot and that the driver, who was not injured, immediately fled the scene before pulling over to call police.
Police say investigators have received several tips from the public.
They say evidence from the scene leads police to believe it was targeted, but investigators haven’t determined whether the occupants of the vehicle were the intended targets.
The girl has been identified as Sarah Alexis Jorquera of Calgary.
“This was a senseless act of violence that took the life of a young girl,” Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of the homicide unit said in a statement Wednesday.
“At this point, we have more questions than answers and are working around the clock to hold those responsible accountable. Losing a 15-year-old is a tragic loss for our community, her school, her friends and, most importantly, her family.”
Police ask anyone with any information about the shooting to call investigators.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2023.
Children lost in shooting were ‘feisty,’ a ‘shining light’
This undated photo shows Evelyn Dieckhaus a student at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn. Dieckhaus was one of six people killed on Monday, March 27, 2023, in the shooting at the school. (AP Photo)
By Adrian Sainz, Kristin M. Hall, Holly Meyer And Ben Finley in Nashville
NASHVILLE (AP) — Details from the rich, full lives of the three adults killed Monday at a Nashville elementary school have emerged quickly in the aftermath, but information on the three 9-year-old children — whose lives ended tragically young — has been slower to publicly surface from a community buried in grief.
The children slain at The Covenant School were Hallie Scruggs, described by an aunt as “always on the go”; Evelyn Dieckhaus, her family’s “shining light”; and William Kinney, whose family has said little publicly so far.
A woman who identified herself as Hallie’s aunt, Kara Scruggs Arnold, wrote on Facebook that Hallie was “incredibly smart, feisty enough to keep up with her 3 brothers and my 4 boys.”
Hallie had a “love for life that kept her smiling and running and jumping and playing and always on the go,” Arnold added in her post.
Hallie’s father Chad Scruggs is the lead pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, which is associated with The Covenant School. The private Christian school has about 200 students from preschool through sixth grade, as well as roughly 50 staff members, according to its website.
Evelyn was described as the Dieckhaus family’s “shining light” on a GoFundMe page that has been set up for them. But her family, too, was reluctant to talk about her or the enormity of their loss.
The adults who were killed were Katherine Koonce, 60, the head of the school, Mike Hill, 61, a custodian, and Cynthia Peak, 61, a substitute teacher.
In a video statement released Tuesday evening, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Peak was supposed to have dinner with his wife, Maria, after filling in as a substitute teacher at Covenant.
“Maria woke up this morning without one of her best friends,” Lee said, adding that Peak, Koonce and his wife had once taught together and “have been family friends for decades.”
Sandra McCalla, a former administrator at the high school Peak attended in Shreveport, Louisiana, said Peak served as the statistician at girls’ basketball games and track meets before graduating in 1979.
“She was busy in the background making good things happen,” said McCalla, who served as the principal of Captain Shreve High School for 30 years.
Chuck Owen, who knew Peak from childhood, said Peak’s father was a well-known doctor in Leesville, Louisiana, where the family lived before moving to Shreveport.
He said, “everyone knew her, knew her family” and that she was “just a sweet person from a sweet family.”
Owen added that Peak was a devout follower of God, and it did not surprise him that she was working at a Christian school.
“She told me that she got saved in college and that God’s love changed her life,” he said.
Nashville songwriter Natalie Hemby posted on Instagram that Peak “taught me how to swim. Keep my head above water… which is what we’re all trying to do right now.”
Peak’s family issued a statement saying their “hearts are broken,” and called Peak “a pillar of the community, and a teacher beloved by all her students.”
“She never wavered in her faith and we know she is wrapped in the arms of Jesus,” the statement said.
Koonce, the head of The Covenant School, was a woman of deep faith who saw educating kids as her mission.
“It’s what God called her to do,” close friend Jackie Bailey said.
“We’re in such shock,” Bailey added. “I was looking around my house, and every piece of cross stitch that I have on the wall, she did – she gave to me.”
One of them said: “A friend loveth at all times.”
“That’s Proverb 17:17,” Bailey said. “That’s the kind of person she was. She loved at all times.”
Bailey added: “If there was any trouble in that school, she would run to it, not from it. She was trying to protect those kids … That’s just what I believe.”
Koonce’s family said in a statement Wednesday that she “gave her life to protect the students she loved.”
“We are devastated by our loss but depending on our God for comfort and healing,” the family said. “It is our privilege to honor Katherine’s legacy and to celebrate her remarkable spirit.”
Before Koonce took the top role with Covenant, Anna Caudill, a former art teacher, worked with her for almost a decade at Christ Presbyterian Academy, another Christian school in the area connected to a Presbyterian Church in America congregation.
“She was an absolute dynamo and one of the smartest women I’ll ever know,” said Caudill, recalling how Koonce excelled at her day job while parenting her children, pursuing her masters and then her PhD, and writing a book.
Caudill, who grew up in several male-led Christian denominations, said Koonce was the first woman in such a setting to encourage her to keep learning and pursuing her life goals.
“She wasn’t Wonder Woman, but I never saw the two in the same place,” Caudill said.
Friends of Hill, the custodian, said they believed he would have died protecting the school’s children.
Pastor Tim Dunavant, of the Hartsville First United Methodist Church, said in a Facebook post that he hired Hill to work at Covenant more than a decade ago.
“I don’t know the details yet. But I have a feeling, when it all comes out, Mike’s sacrifice saved lives,” Dunavant wrote.
Hill’s family issued a statement saying, “We pray for the Covenant School and are so grateful that Michael was beloved by the faculty and students who filled him with joy for 14 years. He was a father of seven children … and 14 grandchildren. He liked to cook and spend time with family.”
Another pastor, Jim Bachmann, said Hill was “one of those people you cannot not like” and that he made a point of learning the names of all the students and talking to them.
Bachmann was the founding pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, which runs the school, and is the current pastor of Stephens Valley Church, where Hill was a member and sometimes served as a greeter.
On those occasions, Hill would “dress up like he was going to meet the president of the United States,” Bachmann said. He added, “Everybody loved Mike, and he loved them back.”
Associated Press reporters Travis Loller in Nashville and Beatrice Dupuy in New York contributed to this story. Sainz reported from Memphis. Finley reported from Norfolk, Virginia.
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