The mother of a 22-year-old woman from Waterhen Lake First Nation who reported being threatened by an armed man while she was pulled over at the side a Saskatchewan highway says she is grateful her daughter immediately got back into her vehicle and drove away.
“Did he just want to intimidate and scare her? Because if that’s what he wanted, that’s what he did. But personally speaking, it’s racism,” said the woman’s mother Julia, who did not want her last name used out of concern for her daughter’s safety.
“I’m just going to say I’m grateful that she’s home, she’s safe and that I’m not burying my daughter.”
The incident was reported to RCMP on Aug. 2 just before noon; police issued a brief media release the following day with the man’s description. On Friday, RCMP released a sketch of a man they are seeking, but no arrest has been made.
“That guy shouldn’t be sitting at home enjoying his day, that’s for sure,” said the woman’s father, Tyrone, who similarly didn’t want his last name used.
Julia and Tyrone said their daughter had picked up tires from a store in Cold Lake, Alta., about 153 kilometres away, and was driving alone. On her way home, they say she stopped the car at the side of Highway 55 outside of Pierceland, Sask. because the new tires she was carrying inside were banging against the door of her van.
“That guy, the farmer (had) come behind her and … got out of (the) tractor, walked up to her and pointed a gun at her and said, ‘You’re trespassing. You’re on my land.’ And she was on the public highway, Saskatchewan highway,” Tyrone said.
The man appeared to be about six feet tall and his daughter is “so tiny,” he said, adding that she “freaked out” and ran.
Julia said she got a message from her daughter about what had happened, then called her, trying to calm her down. She told her what happened wasn’t her fault, that she didn’t deserve it and had to report it to police, she said.
It boggles her mind that no arrest has been made, because the community of Pierceland is small, and “everybody knows everybody,” she said.
“How can somebody be so comfortable to drive down the highway in a tractor with a gun and go up to somebody and do something like that in broad daylight? It doesn’t make sense to me to have somebody think that it’s acceptable and appropriate to do something like that.”
Julia and Tyrone said their daughter is traumatized.
“She’s just always been a happy, helpful young woman and then this happens and she’s just withdrawn,” Julia said.
Earlier this week, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations called for quick action in the investigation and for anyone who knows the man to come forward.
As of Thursday, RCMP said they continue to investigate and work to identify anyone who matches the suspect description.
The man is described as older, with a heavy build, and balding with white hair. He was wearing a black cowboy hat, a blue plaid shirt, brown suspenders, black boots and wire-framed glasses. He was seen driving a green tractor hauling hay bales.
Police are asking anyone with information is asked to contact Pierceland RCMP or Crime Stoppers.
Source : Saskatoon Star-Phoenix