EDMONTON — Edmonton police have confirmed the six deaths that occurred over the course of six days earlier this month are all homicides.
Edmonton homicide detectives pulled resources from other sections of the Edmonton Police Service and even outside the agency to help them deal with a surge of deaths in the city over the course of a few days.
Between Wednesday, March 23 and Monday, March 28, six people were killed in a rash of violence that started when two people were found dead inside a west end home.
“I’ve been here 25 years, I’ve never seen this before. In talking to Staff Sgt. Clark, he’s been in homicide for eight years now, he’s never seen this,” Det. Stephen Camp with the Edmonton Police Service said Monday.
“We’re scrambling big time here.”
The most recent incident happened Monday, March 28, when a woman’s body was discovered inside an apartment suite in the Inglewood neighbourhood.
Police said the 42-year-old woman was found by a family member inside an apartment in the area of 114 Avenue and 132 Street. Officers could be seen going in and out of the building for several hours Monday.
Police have since identified Lisa Kristine Randhawa as the victim. Her death has been deemed a homicide.
The EPS homicide unit was already stretched pretty thin prior to Monday’s incident, investigating five deaths in as many days.
“We’ve seen spikes like this, you guys remember 2011 was quite high, but as far as six [deaths] in six [days], that’s quite a cluster,” Camp said.
“Like 2011, we don’t know why it’s spiking like this right now.”
The violence began Wednesday when Irfan Ahmed Qureshi, 37, and Suzanne Marie Tran, 27, were found dead by a realtor inside a home in the area of 49 Avenue and 213 Street.
Police said Qureshi and Tran died of gunshot wounds. They both had criminal pasts. No one has been arrested in the pair’s deaths but police said there was no safety risk to area residents.
On Saturday, police were called to the Travelodge Beverly Crest hotel just after 9 a.m. when a man’s body was found inside a suite. Police said they were contacted by a person who was inside the suite.
Police said Saturday there was “not at all” any risk to the public.
“It was contained within that suite,” EPS Staff Sgt. Duane Hunter said.
Officers said Saturday there were no suspects in custody, but police interviewed the other person who was in the suite at the time.
The victim was identified as 36-year-old Jeremy Randall Nattress. Police said he was stabbed to death. His death has been deemed a homicide.
Officers are also investigating two deaths which occurred on Sunday.
The homicide section was called in after a middle-aged man was found “with signs of trauma” near 129 Avenue and 58 Street, on the east side of the Belvedere LRT Station parking lot.
Police were called in shortly before 2:30 a.m. The man, who has since been identified as Bruce Peter Macdonald, died in hospital.
Police said the 50-year-old died from being stabbed. His death has been ruled a homicide.
Police are still searching for two female suspects.
Also Sunday, a man who is believed to be in his 30s was killed in a shooting just off Whyte Avenue. A second man was taken to hospital with serious injuries following the incident outside Tribute Lounge on 105 Street.
Officers were called to the area at around 2:40 a.m. after reports of “many gunshots,” police said Sunday.
“All I heard was gunshots firing. I wanted to look outside but I [was] scared,” Garry Martinez, who lives in the area of 81 Avenue and 105 Street, said.
Police have confirmed the victim was Amin Mohammed Abdullahi. The 30-year-old died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Abdullahi’s death has been deemed a homicide. On Wednesday, the EPS issued a Canada-wide warrant for the arrest of a 21-year-old man allegedly involved in the deadly shooting.
Arman Dhillion is wanted on a total of 21 charges, including first-degree murder.
The surge in violence over the week has stretched police resources. The EPS has about 21 homicide officers. Nearly all of the officers were called out to assist in the investigations over the weekend.
“It is a lot of work. We pull resources from other units… All three investigations are proceeding well with a lot of help from the public,” Staff Sgt. Duane Hunter with the EPS Homicide Section said Sunday of the deaths that occurred this weekend.
Hunter said the violence is concerning to police, but couldn’t give an exact cause for the high number of suspicious deaths.
“We live in a big city and when you live in a big city, things come along with that,” Hunter said. “Like I said, it is concerning.”
Watch below: Staff Sgt. Duane Hunter speaks about three suspicious deaths in Edmonton over the Easter Weekend
Edmonton is now sitting at 12 homicides so far in 2016.
In 2015, Edmonton recorded 30 homicides.
Edmonton saw 35 homicides in 2014, 29 in 2013 and 30 in 2012.
Edmonton hit a record-setting number of homicides in 2011, when there were 50 homicides in the city, according to Statistics Canada.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Monday, March 28, 2016. It was updated most recently on Thursday to confirm all six deaths were deemed homicides.
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