News Canada

EDMONTON

Eight killed in 'senseless mass murder' in Edmonton

By Pamela Roth, Edmonton Sun

Click here for a mobile version of the ScribbleLive


A suicidal male is being blamed for the deaths of eight people — including five adults and two children found in a north Edmonton home — marking the largest mass homicide in the city’s history.

The violence began around 6:52 p.m. Monday when police were called to a home near Haswell Court and 16 Avenue in southwest Edmonton and found a middle-aged woman deceased. Police believe a man entered the residence and shot the woman before fleeing the scene.

An hour-and-a-half later, officers were called to a home near 83 Street and 180 Avenue to check on the welfare of an emotionally unstable man, but he wasn’t there.

“According to the family, the male seemed depressed and overly emotional,” said Edmonton police Chief Rod Knecht, adding there was nothing suspicious at the home at the time.

“The family was concerned that the male may be suicidal.”

Police did an exterior check of the house, checking the door and looking in windows, but did not gain entry. The vehicle connected to the slayings was not at the residence.

Police left the home, but later returned around 12:23 a.m. after receiving further information. Inside, they found the bodies of three female adults, two male adults, and two young children — one male and female — shot dead.

Two hours later, city cops headed out to the VN Express Restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan, where they discovered a black SUV that matched the description of the vehicle believed to be associated to the first slaying in southwest Edmonton.

RCMP later shut down the downtown core of Fort Saskatchewan around 9 a.m. Several witnesses in the area watched police blow out the front door and a large window of the restaurant. A police dog was also sent into the business, along with a police-controlled robot.

RCMP found a male deceased in the restaurant from what appeared to be an apparent suicide. Police said it’s the same suicidal male Edmonton detectives had been looking for earlier.

“It is a tragic day for Edmonton and our thoughts go out to the community as we all come to terms with the senseless mass murder of eight people,” said Knecht. “This series of events are not believed to be random acts and there is no risk to the broader public,” said Knecht, adding homicide detectives have established links between the two homicide locations. “These events do not appear to be gang related, but rather tragic incidents of domestic violence.”

One of the two people listed as the owners of the north Edmonton home is 53-year-old Phu Lam, who is known to police and believed to be responsible for the slayings. Lam is also believed to be an owner of the restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan.

Neighbours of the north Edmonton home said the young Vietnamese couple lived there with their two children, aged eight and one-and-a-half. The couple were prone to acts of domestic violence. One neighbour saw police at the home at least three times in the past two years.

Police had been called to the north side house twice in the last two years, and they say the suspect has a criminal record dating back to 1987.

Police have identified Cindy Duong, 37, as the victim of the southside homicide. The victims of the north side slaying have not been identified, but the five adult victims were between the ages of 25 and 50 and the two children were younger than 10 years old.

The weapon used in the homicides was a 9mm handgun that was purchased legally in B.C. and stolen in 2006.

Knecht said help is available for officers who attended the scenes, though he said officers have handled the situation professionally.

“It’s been described as chaotic. It’s horrific,” Knecht said.

“In my 39 years of policing I have never seen anything like it.”

More details will become available after the eight autopsies are conducted on Jan. 1.

Up until Monday, the city had recorded 28 homicides, including a man shot by police in May. Six people were killed in a mass murder near Edmonton in 1956, but the city has seen nothing similar since.

pamela.roth@sunmedia.ca

-with files from Kevin Maimann

Need some help? Crisis Support Centre

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

780-482-HELP (4357)

Alberta Mental Health Crisis Response Team

Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week

780-342-7777

To locate the family violence emergency shelter nearest you, call:

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters 

1‑866‑331‑3933 (toll free)

For information about agencies that offer services and support to people impacted by family violence, call:

Family Violence Info Line

780-310‑1818 (toll free, 24 hours)



 



Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »