Edmonton shooting suspect a racist: co-workers

Co-workers say the alleged gunman in a fatal shooting at an Edmonton car dealership on Friday was recently suspended for making racial comments.

Co-workers say the alleged gunman in a fatal shooting at an Edmonton car dealership on Friday was recently suspended for making racial comments.

Police say a man with a gun walked into Great West Chrysler near Stony Plain Road and 178th Street at about 7:50 a.m. MT and started shooting.

It's believed he shot and killed one man, shot and wounded another and then turned the gun on himself.

Sources have identified the shooter as Dave Burns, 55, an employee who was recently suspended for making racial comments.

Co-workers say he didn't get along well with visible minorities, and some went as far as to describe him as a white supremacist.

They also tell CBC News that Burns had a swastika tattooed on his body and had a very hot temper.

Sources have identified the dealership's parts manager, Garth Radons, as the man pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was one of the first police officers on scene and it's believed she found his body.

A third employee, identified only as Mike, is in hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Condolences pour in for victims

A Facebook memorial page set up in honour of the victims had more than 200 members and dozens of posts by Saturday afternoon.

One person described Radons as "the sweetest guy ever" whose "smile lit up every one around him."

Co-workers describe him as a fun and outgoing guy, who was passionate about baseball.

Meanwhile, the thoughts of staff at the dealership have turned to whether the worker identified as Mike will survive his life-threatening wounds.

Bart Yachimec, the dealership's owner, said his wounded employee has undergone two operations since the shooting.

"Our prayers go out to the families. We still have one in the hospital that I'm going down to check on. We hope that he makes it, we pray that he makes it. That is the key now," Yachimec said Saturday.

"They operated on him and he came out. They had to take him back in for a second operation."

Shooter 'snapped'

Yachimec declined to confirm the names of the shooter or the victims because of the ongoing police investigation. But he said the suspect had worked at the dealership for more than 20 years and the fatal shooting victim for 15 years.

"I had known the man for a long time. I just can't figure out what happened. He just snapped. Something went awry somehow. I know he was very attached to this dealership," he said.

"We have talked to a lot of people about it and that is what they are all saying. Not when they worked together for years."

One person who knew Burns from Alberta's four-by-four vehicle community said that when he heard about the shooting he just couldn't believe it.

"This was a guy who snapped for no apparent reason. It was not like he was a monster," said Corey Kruchkowski.

He said Burns helped organize the growing movement in the province to drive off-road vehicles in an environmentally responsible way.

"This guy obviously was an altruistic person in some parts of his personality. If you met him in the years before this happened you would never think that this was someone who could hurt people."

Employees have been offered grief counselling to deal with the violent loss of their colleague. There is already talk of how they will help the families of the victims. A memorial service will also be held at some point, but for now everyone is still trying to come to terms with what happened.

The dealership was to remain closed over the weekend.

Autopsies on the suspect and the victim are scheduled for Monday.

With files from The Canadian Press