Edmonton experienced its bloodiest week in five years, raising the 2016 homicide count to 11, up five murders from the 2016 total.
According to the Edmonton Police, the killings have prompted police to call in almost all of their 21 homicide detectives.
Even though police don’t feel that the murders are related, according to Staff Sgt. Duane Hunter, they are not ruling out any possibilities as they have no explanation for why there were so many deaths over the weekend.
“There is nothing regarding these last deaths that I could draw out of them to tell you why this is happening,” stated Hunter in an interview with CBC. “Is it concerning? Yes, it’s concerning.”
On March 27, two deaths occurred within hours of each other. At approximately 2:25 a.m., police were called to investigate an incident occurring near Belvedere LRT station. Upon their arrival, authorities found a man in critical conditions with severe signs of trauma. The victim later died in a hospital.
“The investigation would point to that it was targeted,” stated Hunter. “We believe that there are two female suspects.”
Despite the questionable nature of the murders, Sgt. Hunter has also stated that at present ,there is no perceived threat to the public in connection with the death of the man.
Following this incident, police were called to 81 Avenue and 105 Street, Edmonton, around 2:40 a.m. According to Hunter, an argument allegedly broke out inside of the Tribute Lounge, that quickly escalated outside where, “many shots were fired” according to police.
Upon arrival, police found two men suffering from several gunshot wounds. Since then, one man identified as close to 30 died in the hospital. The other victim is believed to be in critical condition with serious wounds.
Hunter has gone on the record in response to the second incident, stating that police currently have one victim in connection with the shooting which they feel, was gang related.
“The [person of interest] that we have now … is an East Indian man in his 30s,” he said, stating in the same interview that all three of the men were present in the bar at the time of the shooting.
Later in the same night in an unconfirmed event, Theodore Fox, a Edmonton resident noticed a heavy police presence along 108 Street, south of Whyte Avenue.
“About every second street, there was a police car stationed, just sitting there with the lights on,” he said.
“And there was the [helicopter] overhead, very low, I was surprised. Seemed to be some action going on,” Fox stated.
In addition to the widespread violence observed on Sunday, police were also called to a hotel on 34 Street and 118 Avenue at about 9:00 a.m. where the found the body of a deceased man who was roughly in his 30’s.
On Wednesday, police were also called to a duplex around 2:00 p.m. where they found the bodies of Irfan Qureshi, 37, and Suzanne Tran, 27. According to the official police report, both were shot to death.
Qureshi’s family issued a short written statement about his death Thursday night.
“Some people may know what it means to lose a family member,” it read. “To us, he was a son, a brother, an uncle and a friend. Irfan will be greatly missed” stated Qureshi’s family in short written statement about his death.
In response to these heinous crimes, the public has been working closely with police and have been very co-operative in regards to providing police with helpful information.
“The whole section’s in working, and we’ve got a few detectives from other areas to help out,” stated EPS Staff Sgt. Bill Cark.
“Sometimes it’s a slow process, every file is so different. It depends on what type of evidence you’re following, what type of leads you’re following. But they’re all moving ahead nicely.