Edmonton killings raise tally to 5 homicides in 5 days

A violent week in Edmonton has raised the 2016 homicide count to 11 from six, the highest weekly total since 2011 when Edmonton was declared the murder capital of Canada.

Nearly all of Edmonton's homicide detectives have been called in to deal with spike

Police investigate a Sunday morning shooting incident at the Tribute Lounge that left one man dead and another in hospital. (CBC)

A violent week in Edmonton has raised the 2016 homicide count to 11 from six, the highest weekly total since 2011 when Edmonton was declared the murder capital of Canada.

The rash of killings has prompted the Edmonton Police Service to call in almost all of their 21 homicide detectives. Staff Sgt. Duane Hunter said police do not believe the deaths are related, but they have no explanation for why this weekend was so turbulent. 

"There is nothing regarding these last deaths that I could draw out of them to tell you why this is happening," Hunter told CBC News. "Is it concerning? Yes, it's concerning."

Easter Sunday deaths

Two of the deaths occurred within hours of each other early on Easter Sunday.

At about 2:25 a.m. police were called to an area near the Belvedere LRT station where they found a man in critical condition with signs of trauma. He died in hospital.

Hunter said there is no threat to the public connected with the man's death. 

Staff. Sgt. Duane Hunter takes questions from the media about the recent spate of killings. (CBC)

"The investigation would point to that it was targeted," Hunter said. "We believe that there are two female suspects."

A short while later shots were fired near Whyte Avenue. 

Police were called to the area of 81 Avenue and 105 Street about 2:40 a.m. Hunter said an argument that broke out inside the Tribute Lounge moved outside where "many shots were fired." 

When they arrived, police found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. A man believed to be in his 30s died in hospital. The other man remains in hospital with serious wounds but his condition is stable. 

Hunter said there is one person of interest in connection with the shooting, which is believed to be gang-related.  . 

"The [person of interest] that we have now … is an East Indian man in his 30s," he said. 

All three were in the bar at the time of the shooting. 

Five people in Edmonton have been killed in five days, the highest weekly total since 2011. (CBC)

Theodore Fox said he was walking home from a friend's house at about 3 a.m. Sunday when he noticed a heavy police presence along 108 Street, south of Whyte Avene.

"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."

A rough start 

On Saturday, police were called to a hotel in the the area of 34 Street and 118 Avenue at about 9 a.m. where they found the body of a man believed to be in his 30s.

Police said there was one person in the suite with the victim. 

On Wednesday, police were called to a duplex at 4914-213th Street at around 2 p.m. where they found the bodies of Irfan Qureshi, 37, and Suzanne Tran, 27. Both were shot to death, police said.

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."

Edmonton police found a man's body at this Travelodge motel on Saturday morning. (CBC)

Aided by the public

EPS Staff Sgt. Bill Cark said the public has been co-operative and many witnesses have come forward with helpful information in relation to these cases. 

"The whole section's in working, and we've got a few detectives from other areas to help out," Clark said. 

"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.

"I have no doubt that we'll be seeing some arrests on them, just a matter of time."