Police in western Canada yesterday were investigating the “senseless mass murder” of six adults and two children, who were apparently slain by a depressed man who later killed himself.
Edmonton Police Service Chief Rod Knecht said the killings — the worst ever in Edmonton — were “planned and deliberate,” and apparently were carried out during a domestic dispute.
The killings began late on Monday in the southern part of Edmonton, a city of nearly 1 million people in the province of Alberta, where a man shot to death a woman in her 30s, Knecht said.
The man then headed to a residence in the north of the city, where he killed another seven people — three women, two men, a girl and a boy.
Alerted by reports of a disturbance, police on Monday went first to a home where they discovered the body of the first female victim.
Later that evening, they went to investigate reports of a “suicidal male” at a house in the north of the city.
An initial visit to the house showed nothing out of the ordinary, but when police returned a few hours later and entered the home, they discovered the bodies of the seven slain people.
The body of the suspected killer, an apparent suicide, was found early on Tuesday in a Vietnamese restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan, a northeastern suburb of Edmonton.
Authorities said that the suspect “had a business interest” in the restaurant where his body was found.
The names and ages of the victims and their alleged killer were not immediately released.
Knecht said the suspect had a criminal record of sexual assault and violence dating back to 1987, and that he was in deep financial distress.
A woman told the Edmonton Journal newspaper that she had heard noises on Monday outside the restaurant.
She saw several police officers, one of whom yelled through a megaphone to someone in the restaurant: “Come out with your hands up.”
Detectives went on to find a dead man inside and quickly identified him as the suspected killer.
Knecht said that the public was not at any risk.
“This series of events are not believed to be random acts,” he said at a news conference. “And these events do not appear to be gang-related, but rather tragic incidents of domestic violence.”
“Our thoughts go out to the community... with this senseless mass murder,” the police chief added.
The killings were the worst-ever in Edmonton, where six people were slain in a tragic incident in 1956.
Mass killings and gun crime are relatively rare in Canada compared with the US, where gun ownership is also much more widespread.
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