A 40-year-old woman was killed in southeast Calgary on Tuesday in what police are calling a brazen and reckless late-night road rage incident.
Friends and family have identified the woman, who police say is innocent, as Angela McKenzie, a mother of five children.
A family member told CBC News that the children’s father died a few months ago.
“Angela was this incredible personality. She was energetic, positive, incredibly supportive, giving,” said close friend Sven Stuwe.
“She’s an amazing individual and I see this as an incredible loss to not just us as her friends, but to the community and the large sphere of people she impacted.”
On Tuesday, Police received multiple reports of two vehicles driving erratically on 36th Street S.E. at about 11:10 p.m., according to a news release. Witnesses said they saw a red Chevrolet Silverado pursuing a grey Volkswagen Jetta and gunfire exchanged between the vehicles.
The Silverado and Jetta collided at the intersection of 36th Street and 17th Avenue S.E. along with two other cars not involved in the chase. The occupants of the Silverado and Jetta continued to exchange gunfire before fleeing the scene on foot, according to Calgary police.
McKenzie, who was driving a silver van and was not involved in the shooting, was declared deceased at the scene, said police.
Supt. Scott Boyd said at a news conference on Wednesday that the exact cause of her death is still unknown but an autopsy will be conducted in the coming days.
“It breaks our heart to think about, and our condolences and love go out from the Calgary Police Service to this family that now have to tragically process this information,” said Boyd.
The driver of the other vehicle who was not involved in the incident was unharmed.
The man who fled from the Jetta was found nearby. He was taken to hospital with gunshot wounds and remains in stable condition. The two occupants of the red Silverado, a man and a woman, have not yet been located, police said.
Police say they are speaking with the man who was in the Jetta but have not yet charged anyone in relation to the incident.
Stray bullets struck at least two nearby homes on 36th Street S.E. No one in those homes was injured, according to police.
‘Incredibly big heart’
McKenzie’s death is a big shock for family and friends, said Stuwe.
“It’s so overwhelming because this should never have happened. This is such a tragedy of consequences,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable. I still can’t wrap my brain around it.”
Stuwe and Mckenzie’s kids went to school together and the two became close friends over the past nine years through their volunteer work.
McKenzie worked for a few years as a lunchroom assistant at one of her kids’ schools, but most recently had a job in snow removal and yard work, he said.
“She was one of these people that had an incredibly big heart, was willing to even sacrifice or put herself second to help others whenever necessary,” said Stuwe.
“She made sure that her kids were taken care of, even if that meant that she went without.”
The kids’ father died in February and they are now staying with McKenzie’s mother, he said.
“Her kids loved her. She was really the pillar of that family.”
Friends and family have set up fundraisers on GoFundMe to support the kids.
‘Complete disregard for public safety’
This is the 58th shooting that has taken place on Calgary streets this year, according to Boyd.
“The reckless and indiscriminate behaviour of the individuals in these vehicles resulted in several homes being struck by gunfire as well as the death of a woman we believe to be completely innocent,” said Boyd in a news release.
“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.”
On Wednesday Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said she was “saddened to a point that I can’t explain,” after hearing about the incident.
“I am still trying to get my head around the fact that somebody would actually shoot someone over traffic. I can’t believe that.”
Investigation into the collision and shooting is ongoing. Police are asking anyone with cellphone or dashcam footage, or any information about the incident, to call the the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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