The worst mass killing in the Canadian province of Alberta in almost 50 years left nine people dead, police said.
The assailant was found dead Tuesday morning at a restaurant in the Edmonton suburb of Fort Saskatchewan. Police said the gunman behind the murder-suicide had a criminal record dating back to September 1987.
One victim, a 37-year-old woman, was found in a residence Monday night in Edmonton, Alberta’s capital city. The seven others — three women and a man, all between the ages of 25 to 50, and two children under 10 — were found early Tuesday in a second Edmonton residence.
The 37-year-old woman who was found dead Monday night was identified as Cindy Duong. Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht wouldn’t identify any of the other victims or the gunman, but he confirmed Tuesday night that all had been shot with a stolen 9mm handgun.
Saying it was “a tragic day for Edmonton,” Knecht called the shootings “planned, deliberate and targeted,” stressing that police weren’t looking for other suspects and that the public wasn’t in danger. He specifically rejected speculation that the shootings might have been gang-related.
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice said in a statement: “In this season of peace and goodwill, this act of violence is all the more difficult to comprehend.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those involved at this very difficult time,” he added. “May they find strength in knowing that Albertans share in their loss.”
The carnage began when the gunman killed Duong about 6:50 Monday night (8:50 p.m. ET), Knecht said. About 8:28 p.m., police were called to a second home to check on the welfare of a man who relatives said was depressed and might be suicidal. The man — later determined to be the gunman — wasn’t home, and nothing suspicious was found, Knecht said, but acting on unspecified “further information,” police returned to the home four hours later and found the seven other victims.
The gunman — who Knecht said was well-known to police — was found dead of an apparent suicide at about 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, when police investigating a suspicious black SUV entered a restaurant he was associated with in Fort Saskatchewan. Knecht said the SUV matched one that had been spotted at the home where Duong was killed Tuesday night.
Knecht said the worst previous mass murder in Alberta occurred in 1956. John Etter Clark, a 41-year-old former Alberta legislator, shot and killed himself after having killed six people at a farm in the town of Erskine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.