CALGARY, Alberta (REUTERS) - The suspected killer of eight people in the Canadian city of Edmonton had a criminal record dating back to 1987 and used a stolen handgun to carry out the murders before killing himself, police said.
Police found one victim's body late on Monday and the remaining seven at a house elsewhere early on Tuesday. The killer committed suicide in a Vietnamese restaurant 19 miles (30km) north-east of Edmonton, the capital of Alberta.
Authorities disclosed the name of the first victim, Cyndi Duong, 37, but said no other identities would be made public until autopsies were carried out on New Year's Day. The dead include two children.
Police Chief Rod Knecht characterised the murders as premeditated domestic violence and said there was no apparent link to drugs or gang activity.
"This is a horrific event for the city and in my 39 years of policing I've never seen anything like it," he told a news conference late on Tuesday.
Local media quoted neighbours as saying the man had a history of being confrontational. Canadian police said the weapon, a 9mm pistol, was legally registered in British Columbia in 1987 and stolen in 2006.
Mass killings are rare in Edmonton, a city of 878,000 people which had 27 homicides in 2013.
Police said on Wednesday the eight murders and one suicide made the mass killing the deadliest in the history of the city incorporated in 1904.