It was the RCMP's darkest day in more than a century. How did it happen? How could a lone gunman, James Roszko, shoot and kill four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers before turning his rifle on himself? Twenty-four hours after the tragic shootings on Roszko's farm -- with the image of dead Mounties lying in the snow forever seared into the national psyche -- the fifth estate set out to answer that question.
Linden MacIntyre's report uncovers new information pointing out discrepancies in the official RCMP version of the events of March 3, 2005 and reveals troubling information about how Roszko was policed in the years prior to the tragedy.
The RCMP stated almost immediately that all four Mounties were shot by James Roszko inside his Quonset. The fifth estate story suggests there was a furious gunfight outside.
Shortly after the shootings, the first estate discovered the RCMP had sealed five search warrants related to their ongoing investigations. The fifth estate went to court and won the release of the search warrants.
The warrant material provides Canadians with a window into Rozko’s actions from the moment he fled his farm on the afternoon of March 2 to the moment he returned the following morning and shot the four officers. During that time, Roszko called his mother, told her he'd made a will and asked her to pray for him.
The warrants also revealed that Dale Mindus and his family had been violently harassed by James Roszko for years - the police refused to intervene. In 1998, they also failed to aggressively investigate the sudden and mysterious death of Mindus. This documentary raises disturbing questions about this death.
A Hail of Bullets also takes a hard look at how an increasingly brazen and wily Roszko fended off charges of sexual assault against young boys. In 1993, the RCMP pulled then-Constable Mike Statnyk off a sexual assault case against James Roszko after the farmer sued the Mountie. The sexual assault case against Roszko was later dismissed and the civil suit dropped.
This documentary was nominated for a Gemini in Best Direction.
WRITER / REPORTER