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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Murder-suicide - Jealousy
Number of victims: 3
Date of murder: December 14, 2011
Date of birth: 1990
Victims profile: Tabitha Stepple, 21 (his ex-girlfriend); Mitch Maclean, 20; and Tanner Craswell, 22
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day
photo gallery

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' Staff

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 Tanner Craswell.

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 video message.

"For obvious reasons, it would have been difficult for me to get up in front of you today," she said in the recording, neck-brace visible.

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 formative years.

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 said.

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 high school.

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 players.

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. 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 families.


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 dispute.

"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 us."

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 Friday.

He confirmed that among the details being probed is how an earlier encounter at a 7-Eleven store may have played into the deadly incident.

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 Wednesday night.

"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 Staff

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 hospital.

Jensen then shot himself.

RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb said investigators are examining "a domestic violence, jilted-boyfriend motive" in the slayings.

"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 night.

"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 that.'"

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 party.

"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 Saturday.

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



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