Family of murder suspect Sheldon Thunderblanket speak out after his death
Sheldon Thunderblanket’s alleged actions days and hours before he was found dead in B.C. have left his family grasping for answers.
The mother of the Sweetgrass First Nation man tells CTV News her son, who was suspected of murdering his ex-girlfriend in Saskatchewan before shooting an RCMP officer in B.C., was a peaceful man.
“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare,” Thunderblanket’s mother Brenda Kennedy said. “I would never wish this on any mother — to bury their child.”
Other family members say he was normally a kind and gentle man who was dedicated to his three children, who coached a kids’ hockey team and who worked as a horse breaker.
The “last memory I have of him, we were driving around talking and he was telling me how much he loves the family and how much he loves me,” recalled nephew Robin Swindler.
Thunderblanket, 40, was found dead Wednesday morning east of Revelstoke, B.C. He was allegedly involved in the shooting of an RCMP officer in Golden, B.C. on Tuesday afternoon and was the suspect in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Tami Frank, on the Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan late Monday.
A cousin of Frank’s said Thursday Thunderblanket’s relationship with her was off and on. He said Thunderblanket recently began showing violent behaviour toward Frank and the family but that family members still didn’t expect her to be killed.
“We didn’t see this coming,” the cousin said. “We thought maybe that was the worst he would get, but obviously not.”
Police in Saskatchewan said officers were called to a residence on Little Pine just before midnight Monday after a report of a shooting. Two adults were found injured in the residence when RCMP arrived. One, Tami Frank, was pronounced dead at the scene and the other, her sister Lacey, was taken to hospital with what RCMP described as serious injuries.
Mounties asked the public for help finding Thunderblanket, and late Tuesday a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, mischief, assault and breach of undertaking.
The shooting in Golden reportedly occurred on Tuesday afternoon during a traffic stop in the B.C. town. Police stopped a vehicle in connection with a possible theft near the weigh scales west of town.
The suspect opened fire on an RCMP officer, hitting her in the arm, before making an escape. The officer, Const. Amber Brunner, suffered a non-life-threatening injury and was taken to hospital.
Police said the suspect then stopped an SUV and forced the people inside to get out at gunpoint.
Few other details have so far been confirmed, but witnesses said a man with a rifle was shooting at RCMP officers on the highway.
The stolen SUV was located late Tuesday night outside Revelstoke, and Thunderblanket’s body was found Wednesday morning.
The Indepedent Investigations Office of B.C. is looking into his death, and the B.C. coroner's service is still investigating the cause.
Funeral plans for Thunderblanket are underway, according to his family.
A funeral for Tami Frank is set for Saturday.
--- based on a report by CTV Saskatoon's Calvin To and with files from Matt Young