EDMONTON – Nine people have been killed at three separate but linked crime scenes in Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan, numerous sources say. Some of the victims are believed to be children.
Police are currently on scene at a “multiple homicide scene” in north Edmonton and a Vietnamese restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan. The scene is also linked to another homicide scene in south Edmonton, where a woman in her 30s was found dead Monday night.
The connection between the incidents has not been officially confirmed by police.
“Units from all over the city are involved. The RCMP is involved as well,” police spokesman Scott Pattison said Tuesday.
“It would appear at this particular time that we can confirm that there is more than one deceased inside this location.”
Downtown Fort Saskatchewan was completely blocked off Tuesday morning, while the RCMP Major Crimes Unit assisted the Edmonton Police Service in an Edmonton-based homicide investigation.
Fort Saskatchewan’s downtown core was reopened to pedestrian and vehicle traffic around 10 a.m., police said, but a heavy police presence surrounded VN Express, a Vietnamese restaurant near 102 Street and 100 Avenue. The restaurant is surrounded by police tape, with windows smashed and front doors broken down. The open sign is still flashing. Forensics officers could be seen entering the restaurant with evidence tags.
Laurie, an employee at Auntie Sue’s Restaurant across VN Express, said she heard a commotion outside the restaurant at 6:30 a.m. She saw a heavy police presence, including a SWAT team, a robot and a police dog. An officer yelled through a megaphone to someone inside the restaurant, telling them to “Come out with your hands up.”
The woman didn’t see or hear anyone respond. Police then rammed a police vehicle through the front of the restaurant.
Neither EPS or RCMP could be reached for comment on the evolving situation Tuesday morning, but said more information would be released as it became available.
Fort Saskatchewan RCMP advised residents early Tuesday morning that all roads to the downtown core had been blocked off and no access would be permitted until further notice. Around 9:30 a.m., RCMP issued an ‘all clear’ and barricades had been removed, the City of Fort Saskatchewan tweeted.
Police could not confirm whether the investigation in Fort Saskatchewan is related to a “multiple homicide scene” currently under investigation in north Edmonton.
Police were called around 8:30 p.m. Monday night to a home in the Klaarvatten neighbourhood, near 180th Avenue and 83rd Street. Police are not saying much about the investigation, other than there is more than one death at the scene.
Neighbours say a family of five lived in the two-storey home, a couple, an elderly woman, a boy around eight and an infant.
“It’s a tragedy and I hope the children weren’t involved,” said neighbour Ron Bailey, who once helped the boy take the training wheels off his bike.
Forensics investigators could be seen taking pictures inside the home and on the walk leading up to the front door. They also spent time looking around the driveway where a black Toyota was parked.
Moe Assiff was going out on a midnight McDonald’s run when he noticed police outside a house across the street. In the past, Assiff had seen the couple who live at the home fighting, most recently in the summer.
He stopped beside a white Toyota Scion parked outside the home. A man and a woman sat inside and they were “white as a ghost,” Assiff said. Assiff said he asked if everything was all right and the man looked at the house and then said, “No, it’s personal.”
That car had been in the house’s driveway over the past couple of weeks, but he’d never seen it before that. It remains at the scene
Around 1:30 a.m., Assiff saw the woman talking to a police officer. “She started screaming her head off,” Assiff said. “She let out the biggest scream I’ve ever heard in my life.”
She and the man got in a police cruiser.
The elderly woman, believed to be a grandmother, often sat outside and watched the kids play in the summertime, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, he said.
This summer, for the first time, Assiff saw the husband and wife screaming at each other on the front lawn around 3 a.m. “This is going to get really nasty, really fast,” Assiff said, recalling the incident.
The man was carrying a Safeway bag and jumped in his car. Assiff didn’t see him again for a day or two.
According to the City of Edmonton records, the home was built in 2012. Government documents show a $365,000 mortgage was taken out that July. Both owners been facing financial pressures, documents show. A 35-year-old woman listed as an owner had a $25,000 judgment issued against her in December 2013 after being sued by the Royal Bank, who supplied the mortgage. The other owner had filed for bankruptcy in October.
Neither of the owners of the home have an obvious connection to the restaurant, which was incorporated in August 2012. The restaurant underwent an ownership change in 2013.
At the third homicide scene, a woman in her late 30s was found dead at a residence near Haswell Court and 16th Avenue near Terwillegar Drive just before 7 p.m. Monday evening. Police said the homicide occurred in a “family setting” and that nobody was in custody.