One of the owners of Bella Tonic Spa, left, walks with employee Amanda Gill in Edmonton on Thursday. ((Lydia Neufeld/CBC))

A man attempting to rob a liquor store in Edmonton shot and killed himself Thursday morning, apparently after shooting and killing another man in an earlier robbery attempt at a nearby spa, police said.

Police were first called to the family-owned Bella Tonic Spa in a strip mall on Millbourne Road at 10:15 a.m. after a man attempted to rob the establishment at gunpoint.

A male employee of the spa was shot and killed when he confronted the robber, police spokesperson Jeff Wuite said.

Ten minutes later, police got a call about an armed robbery at a liquor store in the nearby Millbourne Market Mall.

The description of the liquor store robber matched that of the man who robbed the spa, police said.

"He successfully robbed the liquor store, and as he was leaving the store, he noticed the police presence outside," Wuite said. "He then turned the gun on himself and has now been determined deceased by EMS [emergency medical services]."


An employee at this Mill Woods spa was shot and killed in an armed robbery Thursday morning. ((Lydia Neufeld/CBC))

Bella Tonic Spa employee Amanda Gill only learned about the shooting when she showed up for work. She had called ahead to tell her employers she was running late and didn't arrive until after the robbery. 

She learned who the victim was during a quick conversation with one of the owners.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Gill would not say who it was but said it was someone she knew well. The spa only had seven employees.

"I don't know exactly what happened, but I'm just wanting to know just as much as you guys," she said, sobbing.

Kapil Sharma owns an accounting firm in the strip mall. He looked over at the spa in disbelief as he spoke to reporters.

"I was shocked at what happened and how come it happened," he said. "It's a very quiet area."


The armed robber killed himself Thursday morning at this liquor store at a mall in southeast Edmonton, police said. ((Lydia Neufeld/CBC))

The shooting was also a shock to Dr. Vijay Thapar, who owns the strip mall as well as a medical clinic in the mall.

"Everything can happen in this day and age," Thapar said by phone from home. "Maybe... they get a lot of cash and somebody thought that he could get some cash out."

Police interviewed staff at Thapar's medical clinic, after which the clinic closed for the day, Thapar said.

Police have yet to confirm the identity of the armed man. They believe he had no connection to the victim.

Streets around the spa were closed while police continued their investigation.