The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on June 18, 1992 · 7
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The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada · 7

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 18, 1992
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CANADA The Vancouver Sun. Thursday, June 18, 1992 MURDERS 641 homicides plagued average year HOOmUBDS CORRECTION In Woodward's "Great Deals for Great Dads" flyer selling Wednesday. June 10 to Sunday. June 21, 1992, on the back page, the photographs of the Sunbeam Centennial gas barbecue and the Sunbeam "It's So Easy" gas barbecue are transposed. Woodward's apologizes to its customers for any inconvenience this change may cause. Families, friends devastated in the aftermath of killings During the decade up to 1990 there were an average of 641 homicides a year in Canada. A breakdown, expressed in percentages: Relationship Acquaintance: 39.5 Domestic: 37.7 Stranger 22.8 Method Gun: 31.3 Stabbing: 27.5 Beating: 21.2 Other: 20.0 Canadian Press STEPHEN EWART , Canadian Press LINDSAY, Ont. IT'S BEEN A YEAR since Gord McAllister has been able to watch Perry Mason or anybody else solve a murder mystery on TV. "I used to watch detective movies. I just can't now," says McAllister, whose wife, Jackie, was shot to death a year ago in their motorhome beside a desolate stretch of Northern Ontario highway. "Everything's too easy to solve and at the end there's nobody crying. It just doesn't happen that way in real life." Police still don't know who wounded McAllister and killed his wife. The same gunman is also thought to have killed Brian Major who stumbled on to the bloody scene last June 28 when he pulled his car into the roadside rest area between Blind River and Iron Bridge. But the story goes beyond just the deaths of two people. The killings like all of the more than 640 homicides each year in Canada devastated the lives of families and friends. McAllister, 63, lost his wife of 39 years. He has returned to work because the retirement he and Jackie, 59, had long planned became countless days alone. Johanne Major, meanwhile, says she has struggled to come to grips with the killing that left her alone, at age 28, to raise her four-year-old son. Jamie. "He's coping better than I am," Major says of her son during a telephone interview from her home in Elliot Lake, Ont., about an hour's drive east of where her husband was murdered. "I still cry every day." The killings occurred the day the McAllisters headed from their home, in the central Ontario town of Lindsay, in a motorhome they had bought for a trip to Winnipeg to visit Jackie's relatives. They called it a day when they spotted a rest area about halfway between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. The highway was barely visible through a stand of evergreen trees. Just before 1 a.m. on the rainy night, they were awakened by banging at the side of the motorhome. A r V 5 1 1 fr i asrt, a t 2: as 6 3W JLj9-r "iio v- tijsr" tfr "- ras. man, who identified himself through the door as a police officer, told the startled couple they had to move. "Jackie opened the door and he said: 'I'm gonna rob you,' " McAllister recalls. His voice trails off and tears well in his eyes. "He was cool and calm, as if 'I've done this before, I'll do it again.' It was another day's work for him." McAllister was hit by two bullets from a .22-calibre gun in his back and another in his foot. Provincial police investigators refuse to say exactly how Jackie McAllister or Major died. "Only a limited number of people know exactly what happened and we want to keep it that way until there's a trial," says Sgt. Harv Howden, one of five officers still on the case. The gunman fled with money and credit cards. A motorist passing by at the time told police later that a blue van sped out of the rest area heading east on the Trans-Canada Highway along the north shore of Lake Huron. McAllister, who spent nine days in hospital recovering from his wounds, described the man to police as about 30 years old and 182 centimetres (six feet) tall with stringy blond hair. So, along with his other problems, McAllister lives with the knowledge the killer knows he's the only witness to Jackie's death. As a result, police won't allow photographs of McAllister or the name of the company he works for to be published. FACE OF DEATH haunts Gord McAllister, wounded by a lone gunman, shown here in computer-generated composite. McAllister's wife, Jackie, and passerby Brian Major, were shot to death. CANADIAN PRESS "For a long time I was always watching behind me," he says, shifting in his chair during an interview at a police station in Lindsay, a town of 15,000 northeast of Toronto. McAllister is a slightly built man with greying hair. He emits a nervous sigh when he describes himself as "the kind of guy that just doesn't want to be alone." But his relationship with a "good lady friend" has led to a rift with his three adult children. "Everybody has a different way of coping and I guess the kids were having problems with the way I was coping," says McAllister, who began counselling together with one of his sons and his daughter in May. The range of emotions McAllister has gone through since his wife's death are natural, says Jaan Reitav, a Toronto psychologist who specializes in grief counselling. Shock, denial, rage and numbness tend to envelop someone for six months and it's only then that an acute sense of grief takes hold, Reitav says. It really starts to sink in and that's when the sense of loss hits home," he says. There are no definitive times for these stages, but Reitav says the grief tends to be worst for the six months up to the anniversary of the loss and slowly lessens over the next year. , Like Johanne Major, McAllister says he doesn't get through most days without crying. liK -lit!! CD EE I . '-7 H I e,Jnlcucn I I SANDWASHED H 1 . I SANDWASHED - I,,,, en aca rtl 100 COTTON T-SHIRTS Rural peace and quiet vanishing Canadian Press WINNIPEG The peace and security that once accompanied a life in rural Canada seems to be slipping away for some people, concerned at what they see as an increase in violent crime. They had more reason to shake their heads this week when two Manitoba teenagers were sentenced to life in prison for the murder last year of a 62-year-old farmer. Violent crime in rural Canada is nothing new. There have been many sensational muraers in quiei communities that have made headlines. But some rural residents say they see a change recent violence has wrought. "It once was common that doors were never locked, because people said the doors have to be open so people can help themselves if they are in trouble," said Abe Loeppky, who farms near Steinbach, Man., near where farmer Harry Paley was killed last year "You wouldn't see that anymore." Ann Murphy, who farms near Starbuck, Man., says it's the kind of crime that has taken place in many rural communities that worries her. "They're not just a murder," she said. "They're extremely violent. You don't expect that type of thing out here." "You wonder what's in society now that's causing it," says Cpl. Kathy King, a member of the RCMP rural-crime division in Manitoba. "Some say it's because we've given our kids everything, so what do they do for another thrill? Or maybe it's because we see so much on television we become desensitized. " We j ust keep asking: why?" 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