Mass murder leaves 9 dead including suspected killer in Edmonton, Fort Sask.
WATCH: Shaye Ganam provides more details on the investigation into the worst mass murder in Edmonton’s history.
EDMONTON — Police have identified one of the women killed in the largest mass murder in Edmonton’s history as 37-year-old Cyndi Duong. The incident left nine people dead, including Duong, two young children, and the man believed to be responsible.
A sombre Police Chief Rod Knecht calls the deaths “tragic incidents of domestic violence.”
“This series of events were not random acts, but rather appear to be planned, deliberate and targeted,” he said in an update Tuesday night, adding that there was no risk to the general public.
“It is a tragic day for Edmonton,” said Knecht. “Our thoughts go out to the community as we all come to terms with the senseless mass murder of eight people.”
Two homicide scenes in Edmonton (in the Lakeview and Haddow neighbourhoods) and a scene in Fort Saskatchewan are connected to the multiple homicides and what’s believed to be a suicide.
Police say the deadly spree began in the southwest neighbourhood of Haddow Monday evening. Just before 7 p.m., police responded to a weapons complaint at a home near Haswell Court and 16 Avenue. Once there, they found a middle-aged woman dead from a gunshot wound.
“It is alleged a male entered a private residence, discharged a handgun, and fled the scene,” said Knecht.
Later Monday evening, around 8:30 p.m., police responded to a call near 83rd Street and 180th Avenue, in Klarvatten, part of Lakeview. They were called to check on the welfare of a man.
“According to family, the man seemed depressed and overly emotional. The family was concerned that the male may be suicidal,” said Knecht.
When police arrived at the north-end residence, the man wasn’t there.
“A check of the exterior of the residence revealed nothing suspicious. There were also no signs of the suspect’s vehicle,” explained Knecht.
At 12:23 a.m., after another person contacted police with more information, police returned to the home and established grounds to breach the home.
“Once access was gained, our officers confirmed there were seven deceased individuals within the residence.”
“These murders were described by investigators as appearing to be planned and deliberate.”
“The weapon used in these senseless murders was a 9 mm handgun legally registered in British Columbia in 1997 and reported stolen in Surrey, B.C. in 2006,” said Knecht.
The seven victims found inside the home were three middle-aged women, two middle-aged men and two children – a boy and a girl, both under the age of 10.
“It’s horrific… It’s chaotic… it’s horrific… particularly when there’s children involved, it has a tremendous impact on our folks.”
Knecht said he believed police did everything they could when responding to the north Edmonton home.
“At this point, it appears we did everything we could have done at that time. We couldn’t just arbitrarily enter a residence without having good information to breach a residence.”
Then, around 2:20 a.m. Tuesday, Edmonton police responded to a restaurant in downtown Fort Saskatchewan.
“They discovered a black SUV that matched the description of a vehicle believed to associated with the first homicide in southwest Edmonton,” explained Knecht. A man was found inside VN Express restaurant, dead by apparent suicide. A body was removed from the building around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday.
“I can confirm that the deceased male is in fact the same male police have been attempting to locate since 8:28 p.m. yesterday.” The man found dead inside of the Fort Saskatchewan restaurant also matched the description of the suicidal man allegedly associated with the scene at 83rd Street and 180th Avenue.
READ MORE: Edmonton mass murder – a timeline of events
Police believe he had a “business interest” in that restaurant.
Knecht said the man had a history with police and that officers had been to the north Edmonton home twice before. The first time was in November 2012.
“A male subject was arrested and charged for offences relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and uttering threats,” said Knecht. The second time was in 2013 for a check on welfare.
“This male subject is well-known to the Edmonton Police Service and has a criminal record dating back to September of 1987.”
Knecht said, while there have been reports this incident may be gang or drug-related, all the evidence so far indicates it is not.
“Rather, there is strong evidence that these events are the tragic result of family and domestic violence.”
Autopsies will be conducted on the victims from the north Edmonton home and the male suspect on Jan. 1. The identities of the deceased aren’t being released until the cause of deaths is confirmed and family is notified.
After police surrounded the north Edmonton home on Monday, a witness heard a woman scream “my kids! My kids!” Neighbours told Global News a couple with young children lived there, as well as an elderly woman. Next-door neighbours said the boy was eight years old and his sister was just one.
A neighbour said that police came out of the house and approached a man and woman waiting in a car, then the woman jumped out screaming for the kids. Yellow police tape was put up a short time later.
According to land titles the Lakeview home is owned by Phu Lam and Tien Truong, and the home in the Haddow neighbourhood where one woman was murdered is owned by Cyndi Duong and David Luu.
WATCH: Nine people are dead, including two children, after what police say was a “tragic incidents of domestic violence.” Shallima Maharaj, Tom Vernon and Lisa Wolansky report.
Adults and children stopped by the scene Tuesday night to lay flowers, candles and a teddy bear in front of the the north Edmonton home.
“I wish to express my sorrow at the tragic incident which claimed lives in Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan today,” said Alberta premier Jim Prentice, “and my appreciation to the first responders involved.”
“In this season of peace and goodwill, this act of violence is all the more difficult to comprehend,” he added. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those involved at this very difficult time. May they find strength in knowing that Albertans share in their loss.”
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