The man shot dead by RCMP in North Battleford on Saturday may have had connections to a prominent Saskatchewan gang.
Brydon Whitstone, 22, died en route to hospital on Oct. 21 after being chased by police and ramming an RCMP cruiser in a residential neighbourhood.
He was shot shortly after the collision.
Whitstone’s social media presence indicates he had connections to a gang known as the Westside Outlaws, that has roots in Onion Lake.
Facebook profiles under the aliases “Ozcar Bryce Whitstone” and “Ozcar Brock” shows pictures of the Onion Lake man wearing bandanas and making gang signs with his hands.
It also shows he had a stylized “W” tattoo on his arm, and the word “Outlaws” tattooed across his chest.
Comments on some of the photos say “West-spect” or “Red ’till Dead,” apparent gang slogans.
Westside Outlaws have wide reach: social worker
An organization working to lead young men away from gangs describes the Westside Outlaws as a relatively new group in Saskatchewan, starting about five years ago.
“There’s nothing unique. They have their own structure, their own colours,” said Stan Tu’inukuafe, co-founder of Str8 Up.
The social worker based in Saskatoon said the gang has members in North Battleford, Saskatoon and in the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.
He said the gang likely began when young people with addiction issues were sent to jail and were looking for something to belong to when they were released.
“These individuals sometimes move back to their community, and when they’re there they struggle with addiction … communities don’t really know how to support them properly or don’t have the resources to,” he said.
Sister confirms Whitstone mentioned gang
On Monday, Whitstone’s sister Tammy said her brother had been in and out of jail throughout his life, but loved his children and family.
She told 650 CKOM on Tuesday that she didn’t know he was a gang member, but he had mentioned the Westside Outlaws before.
She said he was particularly interested in the focus of her security work at a cultural event in July.
“He phoned me and asked me if the cops and security were watching out for the Westside Outlaws,” she said. “It didn’t click for me … I thought he was talking for his friends, I didn’t think he was in that gang.”
According to Tammy, Brydon first got a criminal record when he was 12, winding up in jail for several assaults over the years.
She said he was released from jail just months before Saturday’s shooting.
—With files from 650 CKOM’s Brent Bosker.