“I am shocked and horrified by this senseless act of violence, which took place at what was an otherwise immensely positive and successful community event.”
That was Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars reaction to the shooting incident at the Stampede grounds Sunday afternoon.
In a release, Sellars said to discharge a firearm in a calculated act of violence at or near a venue crammed with innocent bystanders is beyond despicable.
“A lot of anger and frustration with the system and how it works with these individuals that continue to go through the revolving door and are still out on the street causing this havoc, this mayhem in our small community that is doing some amazing things.” Sellars said.
“The Stampede was a bright shining light for the region post-COVID era, and then to be ended with something like this and shine this dark light on Williams Lake like it’s a bad place to live is frustrating. The most frustrating part about it was that every single one of us had family and friends there. ”
Sellars said his heart goes out to those traumatized by the incident.
“There’s some pretty significant trauma there that stems from things like this, it shouldn’t be normalized our community seeing stuff like this. When is enough going to be enough and these individuals are going to be locked away?” Sellars said.
“There’s a small group of people that continue to be the cruck of this shooting and gang activity in this region why aren’t we doing more to make sure that it’s not happening ever again, it’s just very frustrating on everyone’s mind.”
Looking at Williams Lake as a whole Sellars said he is very proud to be from here, very proud of this region, and very proud of the Williams Lake First Nation.
The Tsilhqot’in National Government said in a release Williams Lake has a history of violent shootings but never has there been this level of violence in such a populated area.
The Stampede is an iconic annual event for the area with TNG members riding in by horse and wagon, bikes, and other modes of transportation to celebrate it.
“We encourage everyone to talk to their friends, family, or supports we have in place.” Nits’il?in Chief Joe Alphonse said.
“Nobody should feel unsafe in their community. This event has left many of our people traumatized and thinking about what could have happened. I would like to thank the Stampede Association and the RCMP for their quick response.”
The Tsilhqot’in National Government said their standing with the Williams Lake public, their community members, and all that have been affected by the shooting over the weekend.