Local baseball player has ties to triple murder-suicide victim

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For young athletes pursuing their athletic and academic dreams away from home, the holidays are an exciting time offering the chance to reconnect with family and friends.

Such was the case for promising baseball prospects Tanner Craswell and Mitch MacLean – natives of Prince Edward Island, playing in the Western Major Baseball League and studying at Lethbridge College.

Craswell and MacLean were on route to the airport to catch their flight back to the island when a bizarre turn of events unfolded leaving four dead and one hospitalized.

Travelling on an Alberta highway, the vehicle carrying the boys and two female friends – Tabitha Stepple and Shayna Conway – was unexpectedly rammed off the freeway before open gunfire ensued.

Stepple had apparently been having issues with the gunman and ex-boyfriend Derek Jensen, prompting his attack on the group. He eventually turned the gun on himself in the triple murder-suicide.

Conway – shot several times – was the lone survivor rushed to hospital. She is expected to make a full recovery.

The murders took place just one day after Craswell’s 22nd birthday. MacLean was 20.

Kitchener Panthers’ pitcher Shaun Hancock was one of Craswell’s former teammates shocked to hear the news.

“He was probably the best defensive shortstop I have ever met,” said Hancock. “The nicest kid in the world and just a stand-up human being.”

Earlier this year Craswell was selected as the WMBL’s All-Star shortstop; MacLean was named Rookie of the Year.

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