G4S honours first responders to Hub Mall shooting; makes no policy changes
It’s been nearly six months since a crew of G4S guards was reloading ATM machines on the university campus when shots rang out. Michelle Shegelski, 26, Brian Ilesic, 35, and Eddie Rejano, 39, died at the scene. A fourth guard, 25-year-old Matthew Schuman, was quickly rushed to hospital and miraculously survived a bullet to the head.
Police named Baumgartner, a fifth guard on the crew, as a suspect and a massive manhunt ensued. The 21-year-old was arrested the next day B.C. at the Canada-US border. Police said they found $334,000 in his backpack.
Search warrants revealed that his mother told officers she woke up the morning of the shooting to find $64,000 in cash in her home. The documents suggested that the night before, she and her son had argued over rent money he had failed to pay her.
On Thursday, members of the security company came together at the Edmonton Police headquarters for an emotional ceremony in which they presented a plaque of appreciation to police and EMS who were first on scene that day.
“I’ve never seen a community come together so strongly,” said Jean Taillon, “I feel this is part of our home and I want to thank you for everything you’ve done.”
“This was a senseless tragedy that took three young lives and irreparably altered so many others,” said EPS Chief Rod Knecht.
The recovery of Matthew Schuman, who is the only one to have survived the shooting, has been serving as an inspiration for other G4S employees.
Robert Murray, a G4S manager in Edmonton, choked back tears as he talked about having dinner with some family members of the dead guards five weeks after the shooting. Schuman showed up as a surprise guest.
He was able to walk and speak with them. Everyone at the table was amazed, Murray said.
“Basically we had three grown men crying at the table to see how well Matt was doing,” he said. “It was very inspiring for us.”
He later saw Schuman at a summer fundraiser and the man was finally able to hold his two-year-old son. Murray said Schuman is doing remarkably well, but is still undergoing rehabilitation.
Working for G4S was Schuman’s civilian job. He also is a corporal and Air Force firefighter stationed at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton.
Murray said Schuman is still a military member and will have a job with G4S if he ever wants to return to the company.
“There’ll always be an opportunity, depending on what his skill level is,” said Murray. “There’ll always be a place for him at G4S. We’ll find something for him.”
The lives of those lost have not been forgetten, though. They are being commemorated with the sale of black G4S wristbands, the proceeds of which are going to the victims and their families.
Meanwhile, the security company hasn’t made any policy changes since the incident.
Company president Jean Taillon said Thursday a review was done after the shooting at the University of Alberta in June. But nothing has changed.
“We continue to follow the same policies,” he said.
“We have done a full end-to-end review of our screening and training policies and we continue to look for better ways to improve that. But all in all, we’ve actually maintained the process and procedures that we’re doing today.”
The issue of the company screening its employees was highlighted following the shooting as details were uncovered about the accused shooter, Travis Baumgartner.
The Facebook page of a Travis Baumgartner posted quotes by the anarchist Joker from the movie “Dark Knight.” The movie included a violent bank heist. The profile picture on the page showed a person wearing sun glasses and a mask.
Two weeks before the shooting, the page also had a post that mused: “I wonder if I’d make the six o’clock news if I just starting popping people off.”
A former co-worker who trained with Baumgartner a few months before the shooting said Baumgartner acted odd on the job and his moods sometimes changed suddenly.
Baumgartner is scheduled to have a jury trial in September on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.