When the RCMP from St. Walburg, Turtleford and Glaslyn detachments got to the house, they found Christal suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to a hospital in North Battleford, and from there to Saskatoon, where he remains with serious injuries.
RCMP arrested and charged Johnson, a 46-year-old St. Walburg district resident. He is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, firearm used in commission of offence.
Dawn McKellar and her husband know Christal personally. McKellar said Christal is “just a regular person” who is “pretty much retired.” She said he owns a bunch of land with oil wells as well as several gravel pits.
“He hasn’t lived here that many years, so he doesn’t know a lot of people,” said McKellar, noting that Christal moved to the area about five years ago.
She said Christal is divorced and lives by himself on his farm. She said he hired Johnson as his only hired man, to help take care of the gravel pits and crush gravel.
“I don’t even know where this guy (Johnson) came from,” said McKellar. “He was a bit different.
“(Johnson) was up at Turtle Lake, which is not far from where Jim lives, and was staying with some other guy that had a cabin up there helping him out for the summer… and that’s how Jim met him and he came to work for Jim,” she added.
Other neighbours described Christal as a man who “stuck to himself” and “minded his own business.” Some called him “fun” and “easy-going.” Other than McKellar, nobody who answered calls really knew much about Christal.
Johnson made his first court appearance on Feb. 13 at Lloydminster Provincial Court House. The case was adjourned to Mar. 5.
St. Walburg is located 268 kilometres west of Prince Albert.
Taylor Shire is a fourth-year Journalism student and a contributing reporter for the University of Regina School of Journalism's 2012 news service for weekly newspapers in Saskatchewan. Taylor grew up in Rocanville, Sask and has spent time working for the Leader-Post, CBC News Saskatchewan and the World-Spectator (Moosomin, SK). He is passionately interested in sports journalism, but loves reporting on all types of things.
You can see all his work at his website: www.taylorshire.blogspot.com