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RCMP identify victim of Edson homicide, charge 21-year-old man with 1st-degree murder

Click to play video: 'RCMP discuss violent robbery in Edson, Alberta' RCMP discuss violent robbery in Edson, Alberta
WATCH: There's relief in a community west of Edmonton Monday following the arrest of a man accused of killing a sporting goods store employee in Edson. As Dan Grummett reports, police also addressed concerns about the level of communication with the public in the hours following the shocking incident. – Dec 13, 2021

A 21-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of a 44-year-old man in Edson, Alta., early last month.

Just before 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 4, RCMP were called to a shooting at a business on 50 Street in Edson. It happened at Indominus Sports.

Police say a man entered the building with a gun and attempted to rob the business. During the attempted robbery, the suspect fired the gun, striking an employee, according to RCMP.

The employee — identified by RCMP as 44-year-old Cordell Maclellan — was taken to hospital in critical condition, but died of his injuries.

A close friend told Global News that Maclellan had just welcomed a baby. His son was less than a month old at the time of the shooting, she said.

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“Cordell was the proudest father of his newborn son,” Melissa Boudreau told Global News, describing him as “giving and caring.”

“He would help anyone in need. He was so happy working at the sports store.”

Cordell Maclellan, 44, was shot during a robbery in Edson, Alta. He was rushed to hospital where he later died of his injuries. Maclellan is pictured here with his newborn son. Courtesy: Melissa Boudreau

The RCMP said a second employee at the store — a 32-year-old Edson man — was assaulted during a physical altercation before the suspect fled the scene. The employee was treated but did not require hospital care, according to Insp. Rick Jané, operations officer for the Alberta RCMP serious crimes branch south.

Jané said the suspect then left the scene in a stolen vehicle, which was located unoccupied a short distance away within an hour. The firearm was left behind at the initial scene, according to RCMP.

Click to play video: 'Edson business community rattled over fatal shooting' Edson business community rattled over fatal shooting
Edson business community rattled over fatal shooting – Nov 6, 2021

Further investigation led police to attempt to arrest the suspect on Dec. 11. at around 4 p.m. However, Jané said the suspect fled into a treed area north of Highway 16 and east of Highway 32, near Carrot Creek.

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With assistance from the RCMP police dog service, Alberta RCMP Emergency Response Team and Edmonton Police Service’s Air 1, the suspect was taken into custody at around 6:40 p.m.

Brent Michael Dumas of Yellowhead County, Alta., is charged with first-degree murder, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of a firearm contrary to a prohibition order and assault with a weapon.

Read more: Central Alberta store employee dies after being shot during attempted robbery: RCMP

Jané said speaking to the motive of the crime “is a little bit premature” and wouldn’t comment further on it.

During a news conference Monday afternoon, Jané also addressed a couple of concerns RCMP have heard from the public, one of them being that police did not release a suspect description or surveillance photo to the public.

“Investigators elected not to release a description as it would have been so vague to have had little investigative value. And while I’m not able to get into the specifics or give an exact timeline, investigators had identified a potential suspect and we needed to carefully review the evidence and gather it to connect that individual to the shooting,” Jané said.

“When conducting any investigation, police need to evaluate what information we release to the public in order to both protect the accused’s right to a fair trial as well as maximizing our ability to gather evidence.

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“To publicly say we have a suspect before being able to properly build a case and lay charges may cause a suspect to flee or destroy evidence.”

Jané also addressed the fact that an emergency alert was not issued following the shooting. He said police did not have enough meaningful information to put out an emergency alert, and that “there was nothing to suggest that there was an active, ongoing threat to the greater public outside of the fatal shooting.

“I’m not saying that there was zero threat. Policing is always about managing risk and there is always potential threats,” Jané said, adding public safety is of primary importance.

“We didn’t have a suspect vehicle because we found that suspect vehicle within an hour. We didn’t have any reason to believe that having been thwarted in his robbery, he would immediately proceed to commit more crimes. If there were new complaints coming in of additional crimes being perpetrated, even if we didn’t know who was responsible, that would have been information we would have assessed to try to determine whether we needed to explore an emergency alert.

“Had the circumstances been different or had they changed, the Alberta RCMP would have certainly issued an emergency alert.”

Edson is a town located about 200 kilometres west of Edmonton.

Dumas is scheduled to appear in Edson Provincial Court via CCTV on Jan. 18, 2022.

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