On Tuesday night a Strathmore teenager was held at gunpoint at the Municipal Building parking lot.
Fortunately, no one was harmed, and the gun was a replica airsoft handgun, but the experience left a lasting mark on the teenager and the others who were in the car at the time.
The teen's mother, who has asked to remain anonymous, was grateful no one was harmed, but furious that an incident like that occurred in our community.
"Why would anybody do that? Where is this coming from? I don't understand the thought process, but all I can say is that the children and the one 18-year-old that was in that car are traumatized by it. They do not want to leave their house," she said.
"Imagine the dreams and the visions that these kids are going to experience. It's horrifying to think that in a town of 14,000 people, someone went home, picked up a weapon, and came back to the scene and held it to somebody's head."
Saying "the kids are traumatized for life," the mother plans on hiring a lawyer to take this issue to court. She added once she told the RCMP of the impact this had on the kids she was told of victim services as a potential resource to help them through this difficult time. As for the mother herself, when the incident happened initially she was actually quite calm, enlisting the help of Facebook to identify the vehicle of the person with the gun, which in turn led to swift RCMP action, with the gun being seized around 12 hours later.
"It didn't hit me until the afternoon when the RCMP called and said that they had confiscated the firearm. That's when I actually broke down and freaked out."
Moving forward, the mother plans on taking action to try and make our community safer. Beyond hiring a lawyer to ensure the safety of all families involved and all of our community members, she encourages everyone to be vocal about the types of change they want to see in the community through the proper channels, such as the Town of Strathmore's Citizen Communication Forms for example.
"I don't ever want this to happen to anyone else. Nobody's kids should ever go through that."
One change the mother would like to see is the Municipal Building's parking lot gated off at night, to prevent other incidents from occurring there. Saying that she's heard of other dangerous circumstances in that parking lot, she'd like to see it closed off to eliminate that potential danger. However, she also said this would just lead to youth and other people gathering elsewhere, so that wouldn't be a permanent solution. For something more permanent, she is hoping to see more youth activities for kids to hang out in safe areas and not get up to mischief. She listed ideas such as a youth centre, bowling alley, an indoor skate park, and more.
The community support she received following the incident has been fantastic, and the community played a role in identifying the person with the gun through the Facebook group, so she wanted to thank everybody who helped her and her family during this challenging time.
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