RCMP along with EMS surround a house on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation on Saturday (Jan. 7) where members of the RCMP served warrants for first-degree murder of Lorenzo "Billy" Bearspaw.
Aryn Toombs RMO Photo
UPDATE: A man was shot and killed as the RCMP investigated a homicide on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation near Morley, Saturday (Jan. 7), while two men are in custody in connection to the murder of Lorenzo “Billy” Bearspaw. Ralph Stephens, 27, from Stoney Nakoda, died from injuries after he “engaged police and shots were fired.” The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has taken the lead on the incident and provided details of the shooting, alleging Stephens open fired on officers with a shotgun before being fatally wounded. The RCMP was investigating the homicide of Bearspaw, 27, whose body was found Jan. 6 on the Stoney Nation after he had been reported missing on Jan. 3 by his sister. RCMP Major Crimes charged three suspects with first-degree murder for an alleged role in Bearspaw’s homicide, which included Stephens and his brother, John Stephens, 29, and Deangelo Powderface, 22. A nation-wide arrest warrant was issued for their arrest. On Saturday at approximately 4 p.m., Major Crimes Unit, with the assistance of the RCMP Emergency Response Team, went to a residence on the Stoney Nation to serve the warrants. RCMP noted “numerous people to be present” inside the residence upon entry. John Stephens was arrested first without incident and remains in custody. According to ASIRT, as officers went into the basement of the home they were fired upon. Officers deployed tear gas and retreated upstairs. Any person on the main floor was immediately escorted outside to safety. “With the residence surrounded, a man armed with a shotgun and a woman exited the home by climbing out a basement window,” an ASIRT news release stated. “The man, one of the individuals being sought, became involved in a confrontation with police that resulted in shots being fired.” Ralph Stephens was seriously injured and taken to the hospital where he died about an hour later. “ASIRT’s investigation will focus on whether the conduct of the involved officer caused the death of the man and, if so, whether that conduct constituted a criminal offence,” the news release stated. Powderface turned himself in to Cochrane RCMP Sunday evening (Jan. 8) following RCMP urging him to at the press conference. Powderface and John Stephens are expected to have their first court appearance in the coming days. Police “urge calm” in the Stoney community while the investigation takes place. “These events are tragic for the families, first responders and the Morley Community,” said Chief Superintendent Tony Hamori, Officer in charge of Southern Alberta District RCMP, at a press conference, Sunday. “On behalf of the RCMP, I want to extend sincere condolences to the families of Lorenzo Bearspaw and Ralph Stephens. I also urge calm in the community while the investigations take place.” A number of people were in the area at the time that this incident occurred. ASIRT investigators have already spoken with a number of witnesses who were present at the time but are asking anyone who may have information, and in particular, anyone who might have been in the basement of the residence, to contact ASIRT at 403-592-4306.