Police probe 'senseless' murder of 6 adults, 2 children in Canada by depressed man

Members of the coroner's office removing a body from one of three crime scenes where a total of nine people were found dead in north Edmonton, Alberta, on Dec 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Members of the coroner's office removing a body from one of three crime scenes where a total of nine people were found dead in north Edmonton, Alberta, on Dec 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MONTREAL (AFP) - Police investigated on Tuesday the “senseless mass murder” of six adults and two children in western Canada who were apparently slain by a depressed man who then killed himself.

The killings began late on Monday in the southern part of Edmonton, a city of nearly one million people in Alberta province, where a man shot to death a woman in her 30s then fled, said the city’s Police Chief Rod Knecht.

The suspected killer, whose relatives said was suicidal, 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. The names and ages of the victims and their killer were not immediately released.

Police who were investigating reports of a “suicidal male” had first gone to inspect the second house late on Monday.

After an initial unsuccessful patrol, officers went back, forced their way in and discovered the bodies of the seven victims.

The body of the suspected killer was found early on Tuesday in a Vietnamese restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan, a northeastern suburb of Edmonton, after committing suicide.

A woman told the Edmonton Journal newspaper that she had heard noises outside the restaurant.

She looked and saw several police officers, one of whom yelled through a megaphone for someone in the restaurant to “Come out with your hands up!”

Detectives went on to find a dead man inside and quickly identified him as the suspected killer. He was not identified publicly.

Mr Knecht stressed 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.”

Mr Knecht added that “our thoughts go out to the community... with this senseless mass murder.”

According to witnesses cited by the Edmonton Journal, the owner of the house where the seven bodies were found in north Edmonton had been having financial difficulties and has a former wife who owns a restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan.

The police chief said it was Edmonton’s worst ever mass killing. In 1956, six people were slain in a tragic incident.

Mass killings and gun crime are relatively rare in Canada compared to the neighbouring United States, where gun ownership is much more widespread.