Two Alberta men arrested in connection with RCMP massacre
EDMONTON — The RCMP have charged two Alberta men with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting deaths of four Mounties — an incident that shook many Canadians to the core and raised countless questions over police security.
Calling it the first significant update into the tragedy at Mayerthorpe, Alta., RCMP Deputy Commissioner Bill Sweeney said yesterday the two men are being charged as a party to the offence.
Dennis Keegan Rodney Cheeseman, 23, and Shawn William Hennesey, 28, both of Barrhead, Alta., are charged with four counts each of first-degree murder and are scheduled to appear on Thursday in provincial court.
“As the criminal charges proceed to the courts, the questions to all the compelling and important questions that the Canadian public have with respect to this very tragic affair will be answered — and answered in the fullness of the investigation,” Sweeney told reporters at a news conference.
After the announcement, Julia Schiemann, the sister of one of the slain Mounties, embraced Sweeney and sobbed uncontrollably before whispering “Thank you.” She later declined to speak to the media.
James Roszko, a known police hater, is believed to have fatally shot four young Mounties — Constables Anthony Gordon, Leo Johnston, Brock Myrol, and Peter Schiemann — on March 3, 2005, before later turning the gun on himself.
The incident is often cited as the RCMP’s greatest loss of life in a single day in more than 100 years.
The police investigation into the Mountie slayings has taken more than 28 months and, at one point, involved more than 200 investigators — including undercover operations.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rob Knecht said the two men charged were known to police, but their involvement in this incident is allegedly through aiding and abetting.
“It’s not necessarily that they committed the crime directly, but that they were somehow involved in facilitating the crime,” he said.