December 2011: Tabitha Stepple, 21, Mitch Maclean,
20, and Tanner Craswell, 22, were shot to death on Highway 2 north of
Claresholm by Stepple's ex-boyfriend Derek Jensen, 21, who also took
his own life.
Sole Alberta shooting survivor on 'road to recovery'
Sunday, January 15, 2012
The lone survivor of an Alberta murder-suicide says
she's gradually recovering from the highway shooting that killed three
of her friends.
Shayna Conway left a Calgary hospital on Saturday
to attend a memorial service for Tabitha Stepple, Mitch MacLean and
All three were shot to death last December by
Stepple's ex-boyfriend, who then turned the gun on himself. Conway was
shot three times but survived.
Sitting in Lethbridge's ENMAX Centre, Conway
listened quietly as loved ones and supporters presented tributes to
her three friends.
She didn't take the stage but opted to speak in a
"For obvious reasons, it would have been difficult
for me to get up in front of you today," she said in the recording,
In the video, Conway stressed how grateful she was
for the support she and her friends have received from community
members -- some of them strangers.
"I want you all to know that I'm doing well," she
added. "I'm on the road to recovery and looking forward to getting
home just as soon as I can."
Conway was admitted to an intensive care unit at a
Calgary hospital after the shooting. By late December, friends said
she was speaking and breathing on her own and able to move her leg.
During the memorial service, part of the slideshow
presentation referred to Conway's survival as a miracle.
'Called up to the true major leagues'
In her message, Conway also extended her
condolences to the victims' families saying her "thoughts and prayers
are with you always."
More than 1,500 mourners attended the
baseball-themed service which honoured the three young adults in
videos, songs and shared stories.
A slideshow divided different sections of the
service into nine "innings," each of which touched on part of the
victims' lives, with presenters paying tribute to their childhoods and
Both MacLean, 20, and Craswell, 22, were baseball
players from Prince Edward Island who had moved to Alberta to play
baseball for Lethbridge College.
Friend and teammate Marc Clausen referred to their
commitment to the sport a short presentation at the service.
"Tanner Craswell and Mitch MacLean have been called
up to the true major leagues and will continue to turn magnificent
double-plays in a much better place as true angels in the infield," he
Stepple was also honoured with loved ones praising
her for her "genuine love for her family" and how she "lit up the room
with her fun energy."
Last December, Stepple and Conway had been driving
the Craswell and MacLean to the airport to catch a flight home to
P.E.I. for the holidays.
Police said Derek Jensen, who had encountered into
the group earlier in the night, rammed his car into theirs on the dark
highway. The damaged car came to a stop and Jensen opened fire.
Police have referred to the incident as having a
"domestic violence, jilted-boyfriend motive."
Alberta Highway Shooting Victims' Funerals Set For P.E.I.
December 19, 2011
The two P.E.I. men killed last Thursday in a
murder-suicide on a highway near Claresholm, Alta., were remembered
Monday with a memorial game of catch at their former Charlottetown
More than 300 people gathered on a sports field at
Colonel Gray High School late Monday afternoon to play a game of catch
in memory of Tanner Craswell, 22, and Mitch MacLean, 20, who were
gunned down last week in Alberta. The pair were promising ball
After class on Monday, students and staff headed
outside with ball gloves and balls in hand. They were joined by
friends, family and community members including Craswell's father,
Keith Craswell, and Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee.
Matt Dixon, a former teammate of the two men, was
also there to remember them.
I think everybody in the province is kind of in a
state of shock, Dixon said. They made an impression on not just ball
players, but people who knew them outside of baseball, too. They made
lasting impressions on everybody. They were both just great guys.
The game of catch was meant to not only honour the
young men, but also to show support for their families. There were a
lot of tears and hugs among those taking part in the event.
Principal Kevin Whitrow said the event was a simple
one that would have meaning for the two men, who attended a baseball
college in Lethbridge.
"To do something that the boys would love to do
and a lot of them would have even done with Mitch and Tanner you
know, just play a game of catch," said Whitrow.
MacLean and Craswell were shot in a car on Highway
2 near the Alberta community. The shooter, Derek Jensen, was the
ex-boyfriend of Tabitha Stepple, who was also killed.
Jensen turned the gun on himself and was found dead
at the scene.
Shayna Conway, 21, the only survivor of the attack
and who is also from P.E.I., was driving Craswell and MacLean to the
Calgary airport where they were to catch a flight home for Christmas.
Support for survivor
Family and friends are rallying behind Conway. Her
sister, Courtney Crosby, told CBC News that Conway is scheduled to
have an operation Monday. She is expected to recover.
Conway's former co-workers at the Charlottetown
Mall Juice Zone are donating all their tips to help offset some of the
expenses related to her recovery.
"Shayna is the type of girl that just lights up a
room," said her friend, Rebecca Sanderson.
"Everybody that works here, everybody that comes
into the Juice Zone, everybody just loves her. We just want to show
her how much we love her and that we all care for her."
Crosby said the family is grateful for all the
messages of support coming from P.E.I.
Funeral services for MacLean and Craswell have been
set for later this week. MacLean's funeral will be at Winsloe United
Church in Charlottetown on Thursday at 10 a.m. local time. Craswell's
funeral is Friday at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, also in
Charlottetown at 10 a.m.
Credit Union locations on P.E.I. will start
accepting donations starting Tuesday from anyone looking to help the
Alberta Highway Deaths Tied To Jealous Ex-Boyfriend
December 17, 2011
A man named Derek Jensen was the shooter in a
murder-suicide that left four people dead on an Alberta highway, CBC
News has confirmed.
Jensen was an ex-boyfriend of one of the female
victims, Tabitha Stepple, according to media reports.
Among the dead were Tanner Craswell, 22, and Mitch
MacLean, 20, baseball teammates and best friends originally from P.E.I.
and known as promising athletes. Stepple, one of two women travelling
with the ballplayers, was also killed in the attack.
"This one was particularly horrific. We had so many
people shot, so much tragedy there," said RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb.
Jensen was found dead at the scene on Highway 2
after turning the gun on himself.
Alberta RCMP have been piecing together the
murder-suicide, which unfolded near Claresholm early Thursday morning.
They suspect the killings were targeted and related to a domestic
"This is not a random. This is not a stranger
shooting," Webb said Friday morning.
The only survivor in the attack was Shayna Conway,
formerly of P.E.I., who is recovering in hospital.
Webb said investigators are hoping to speak with
Conway as she recuperates from the ordeal.
"We actually have an eyewitness, someone who was on
scene and knows exactly who was there and exactly what happened," he
said. "We're working with her so that she's in a state she can help
Police, following up on reports of gunfire, came
across a car and an SUV in a ditch and discovered three bodies and two
injured people. One man died later in hospital.
Probing 'every possible detail'
RCMP released few details about their
investigation, but said officers had recovered a gun and expected to
release more information in coming days.
"Our investigators on scene, what they're doing is
looking back at every possible detail. Literally in the seconds,
hours, minutes, days before this happened on that highway," Webb said
He confirmed that among the details being probed is
how an earlier encounter at a 7-Eleven store may have played into the
Police have seized surveillance footage from the
shop and are reviewing it for clues.
"Yes, there was something that happened at the
convenience store, but we want to get the story from our lone
survivor," Webb said.
Craswell and MacLean, along with the two women, had
been en route to the Calgary airport before the shootings.
Friends mourn deaths
Kevin Kvame, the manager of the Lethbridge Bulls
baseball team on which the two young men played, said the pair had set
out for a two-hour road trip to the airport so they could fly home to
P.E.I. for Christmas. A girlfriend had agreed to drive them, and was
accompanied by a female friend, Kvame said.
In an interview Friday with CBC Radio's Calgary
Eyeopener, Kvame said Tanner had just celebrated his 22nd birthday on
"That was one of the reasons he ended up lining up
transportation to go to Calgary that time of the day," he said.
"Because he was out celebrating his 22nd birthday and wanted to go up
with his girlfriend and her friend. I'd offered to take them up
earlier if they wanted to go, but they wanted to be with their friends
that last night in the city before they went home."
People in Charlottetown and Lethbridge are mourning
the deaths of the two ballplayers. Friends in Alberta told CBC News
they'll remember two kind guys who loved baseball.
In Charlottetown, Matt Hood, who grew up with
Craswell and MacLean, said they shared a love of baseball. Hood said
even the snow didn't stop the two ballplayers from giving Hood's
younger brothers a practice session.
"Tanner and Mitch would have a catch with them in
the dead of winter with snow up to their shins
just to help them
out," he said. "That's the kind of people they were."
Allison MacDonald, who coached MacLean on the
Islanders baseball team in the summer of 2010, said MacLean was
preparing to head to the U.S. to play college ball this winter.
Car rear-ended before Alberta shooting began: RCMP
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Moments before four young people were shot dead in
Alberta this week, one car rear-ended another to stop it on a highway
near Lethbridge, Calgary RCMP said on Saturday.
The Mounties said the car that rammed the other was
being driven by Derek Jensen, 21, who had been looking for his
ex-girlfriend early Thursday after a confrontation at a pub.
He was following her car after spotting it at a
7-Eleven convenience store in Claresholm. Jensen had three loaded and
registered guns with him -- a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle.
hey discovered another rifle and ammunition at his
home in Lethbridge. Police confirmed that the guns were registered.
When the driver, Shayna Conway, 21, got out of the
damaged car, she was shot several times with a handgun.
Conway remains in hospital recovering from multiple
gunshot wounds and is expected to recover. Police said her account of
the events was instrumental in piecing together the incident.
The RCMP said Jensen then approached the car and
fired several shots, killing his ex-girlfriend Tabitha Stepple, 21,
and Tanner Craswell, 22. Mitchell MacLean, 20, who was also shot,
escaped from the car and crawled into a ditch. He died on the way to
Jensen then shot himself.
RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb said investigators are
examining "a domestic violence, jilted-boyfriend motive" in the
"We can surmise there was definitely a certain
amount of planning in this," Webb told a news conference in nearby
High River. "No one drives around for the most part with three loaded
weapons. Exactly how they were to be utilized or what his intentions
were, we may never know."
Witnesses told CTV News that Stepple's former
boyfriend Jensen went "berserk" when he found Stepple and the other
three celebrating Craswell's birthday in a Lethbridge pub on Wednesday
"He saw her and lost it, lost his mind ... and he
was like yelling," said Caitlin McFarland, a friend of Stepple's.
"Then we left, he was phoning her, phoning her, phoning her and said
to her, 'This night's not going to end well for you. I hope you know
McFarland said Jensen pushed Stepple out of her
chair during the confrontation at the pub. The couple broke up a few
months earlier but were still living together, although Jensen was
supposed to have moved out the day of the shooting. About the breakup,
Webb of the RCMP said, "Jensen was not satisfied with that."
Early Thursday morning, the bodies were discovered
on the side of Highway 2 north of Lethbridge. Friends said Stepple and
Conway were taking the two men to the Calgary airport for a flight
back home to Prince Edward Island for Christmas.
According to the couple's friends, Jensen, an avid
hunter and skeet shooter who had recently completed training as a
paramedic, was a nice boy from a good Mormon family but a possessive
and jealous boyfriend.
"She would tell me he's very controlling," said
Claire Sullivan, a friend of Stepple's. "She would say things like,
'I'm not allowed to do things without him. He wants to know where I am
and what I'm doing.'"
MacLean and Craswell were baseball players and best
friends who played together on the Lethbridge Bulls, a collegiate
summer baseball league. MacLean was named rookie of the year and
Craswell was an all-star shortstop.
"The whole P.E.I. community is saddened," said
Baseball P.E.I. president Don Leclair, who had watched the young men's
short careers. "A number of my children went to school in western
Canada and I know the excitement you felt waiting at the airport and
now these people are waiting for their caskets to come."
In Edmonton, Jimmy Morrison of P.E.I. mourned the
loss of two friends.
"They weren't friends, they were brothers," he
said. "Two great talents, you know?"
The coach of the Lethbridge Bulls said he had
planned to drive his two players to the airport the night before but
they had decided to stay an extra day to celebrate Craswell's
birthday. Then Stepple offered to drive them to the airport after the
"Those boys had nothing to do with (Jensen)," said
Kevin Kwane, who was also the landlord for the players. "They were in
the wrong place at the wrong time."
Students at the former high school of two men from
P.E.I. plan to hold a game of catch in their honour next week.
When classes end Monday, Colonel Gray High School
in Charlottetown will hold the game to honour MacLean, of Cornwall and
Craswell, of Charlottetown, the school's principal Kevin Whitrow said
Whitrow, who is organizing the event, said he
expects hundreds of people to attend the unique event.
"That's what we're expecting that there will be a
whole lot of people who bring a ball and a glove and kind of just play
catch and remember... the guys."
Participants will have the opportunity to sign a
guest book, said Whitrow.
He said it's been an emotional few days at the high
school and in the community.
"These were boys that even if you didn't teach
them, you knew them," said Whitrow. "Everybody is caught by the sheer
tragedy of this."
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV
Calgary's Kaella Carr, Bridget Brown