Police arrest man suspected of attacks in northeast Edmonton that left 1 dead, 2 injured

Edmonton police have arrested 25-year-old Clarence Lawrence, the suspect they believe is responsible for random assaults on Wednesday that left one person dead and two seriously injured.

Victim identified by family member as Brian Berland, from Cold Lake First Nations

There was a heavy police presence in Edmonton's Homesteader neighbourhood Wednesday, as officers searched for a man suspected of attacking several people. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Edmonton police have arrested the man suspected of random attacks in northeast Edmonton that left one person dead and two others seriously injured.

Earlier Wednesday, police had requested that residents, pedestrians and motorists in the Homesteader neighbourhood shelter in place or avoid the area.

Residents were also advised there would be a heavy police presence while officers searched for the suspect, 25-year-old Clarence Lawrence. 

Shortly before 6 p.m., police issued an update to news media saying Lawrence was in custody.

'He was just very sweet'

The family of the man who was killed identified him as Brian Berland, from Cold Lake First Nations in northeastern Alberta.

Jakob Berland, the victim's nephew, said he learned from an aunt Wednesday night that his uncle had been stabbed.

"I was just in disbelief, I couldn't believe it," Jakob Berland said.

He said his uncle was a positive, supportive person.

"He was one of those kind of people where he would rather see you happy."

Jakob Berland said his uncle had been staying on and off with family in Edmonton.

"He was just very sweet," Berland told CBC News. "Because my uncle Brian, he was living on the street, so he just wanted nothing but love and to give his love and positivity." 

Berland said he last saw his uncle a few months ago in Cold Lake.

Brian Berland from Cold Lake First Nations was killed in the attack in northeast Edmonton Wednesday, a family member confirmed. (Brian Berland/Facebook)

Police said Wednesday they believe the assaults were random in nature.

Homesteader resident Dave Olechow said he saw a man running out of a bushy area holding a sharp object. 

Olechow said he kept going.

"I came back about 10 or 15 minutes later from Walmart, and it was all blocked off."

CCTV footage shows Clarence Lawrence earlier in the day. (Submitted by Edmonton Police Service)

Police blocked off an area around Henry Avenue and Hermitage Road for several hours.

Four Catholic schools and four public schools were on alert as a precaution, meaning the schools' exterior doors were locked. Students were dismissed after the incident ended.

Bundles of flowers lying on grass beside a sidewalk, with a pedestrian crosswalk and bus shelter in the background.
Bunches of flowers have been left at the corner of Hermitage Road and Henry Avenue in northeast Edmonton in memory of assault victim Brian Berland. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)