‘Lock your doors:’ Canada police hunt teen slaying suspects

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police released photos on July 23, 2019 of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, from Port Alberni, British Columbia, who are considered main suspects in the slayings of 23-year-old Australian Lucas Fowler, and his US girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, who were discovered shot to death on July 15 along the side of the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, British Columbia. (AFP)
Updated 30 July 2019

‘Lock your doors:’ Canada police hunt teen slaying suspects

  • Court records show he was charged with criminal harassment in December 2008

VANCOUVER, British Columbia: A search around the area of a remote northern Manitoba community has failed to find two teenagers who are suspects in the murder of three people in British Columbia, but police continued to urge local residents to stay inside Monday and lock their doors.
RCMP Cpl. Julie Courchaine told a news conference in Winnipeg that the agency received a tip Sunday afternoon that Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky may have been spotted in York Landing — about 55 miles (90 kilometers) from Gillam, where a vehicle that had been used by the suspects was found burned last week.
“It is critical that residents of York Landing remain vigilant and stay indoors as much as possible with their doors locked, and to report anything suspicious by calling their local police immediately,” Courchaine said.
McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia professor, whose body was found last week in British Columbia.
They are also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found July 15 along the Alaska Highway about 500 kilometers (300 miles) from Dyck’s killing.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the Royal Canadian Air Force was assisting with the search.
On Monday afternoon, the RCMP tweeted they still have not been able to verify if the two teens are in the area.
“After a thorough & exhaustive search, #rcmpmb has not been able to substantiate the tip in York Landing. RCMP resources will continue to be in the York Landing & Gillam areas,” the tweet said.
“We thank the community for their patience & understanding & ask them to continue to be vigilant.”
Police earlier had been searching further east in the town of Gillam, aided by tracking dogs and drones.
The tip about the possible sighting came from members of the Bear Clan Patrol, an indigenous-led neighborhood watch group that was invited by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to help ease residents’ fears.
While York Landing geographically isn’t far from Gilliam, Courchaine said the community is “only accessible by air or via a two hour ferry crossing in the summer.” There also is a rail line around 25 kilometers (15 miles) south.
The area has “very challenging terrain, lots of forest, lots of muskeg, waterways,” said Couchaine.
Meanwhile, the father of one of the suspects has sent a book to reporters describing his mental health, harassment convictions involving his ex-wife and his relationship with his fugitive son.
Alan Schmegelsky said the book titled “Red Flagged” is a novelization of actual events and fictionalizes some incidents.
He said he sent the book to reporters to highlight how a “broken system” has shaped him and his son.
“My son and I have been treated like footballs. It’s time for some truth,” he said.
He writes that he was arrested by Victoria police on Aug. 4, 2008, his son Bryer’s 8th birthday, three years after his acrimonious split with the boy’s mother.
Court records show he was charged with criminal harassment in December 2008. He was found guilty of the lesser offense of disobeying a court order.
He returned to court numerous times over the next decade on charges of harassment and breach of probation.
Schmegelsky says he does not currently have a permanent residence and has been homeless for about two years, staying primarily in Victoria.
He has said that he did not see his son between the ages of 8 and 16, at which age his son briefly lived with him in Victoria and they worked in construction together for a summer.


Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

Updated 10 sec ago

Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

JUBA: Clashes between soldiers and civilians during a disarmament exercise in the central South Sudanese town of Tonj have left 127 dead, the army spokesman said Wednesday.
Major General Lul Ruai Koang told AFP that the fighting erupted on Saturday as security forces carried out an operation to disarm civilians in the area which has seen deadly inter-communal clashes.
More than six years after a civil war broke out in the country, and in the absence of a functioning government, many communities are flush with weapons, which they keep for protection or defense against cattle raids.
The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers. An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but according to Koang the youths mobilized others for an attack on the army position.
“On the latest, the number of those killed, I can confirm to you that it rose to 127,” Koang said, adding that 45 of those killed were security forces and 82 were youths from the area.
A further 32 soldiers were injured.
Koang said two military officers involved in “triggering the clashes” had been arrested, and that the situation in Tonj had calmed down.
South Sudan is emerging from a six-year civil war that left 380,000 dead and millions displaced, and disarmament is a major stumbling block.
Experts have warned against operations that coerce people to lay down their guns without proper planning, as some communities could find themselves unable to protect themselves after their weapons are removed.
“The clashes should be an opportunity to rethink the approach to disarmament. What is the point of removing guns without addressing what drives folks to arms themselves?” Geoffrey Duke, head of the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, said on Twitter.
“We can take guns away this week & they buy a new one next week (as) long as they still see the need to have (one).”