Edmonton warehouse stabbing suspect to be charged with 1st degree murder
Published Saturday, March 1, 2014 1:22PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 8:46PM EST
Murder charges against an Edmonton man arrested following a stabbing spree at a Loblaw warehouse were pending Saturday afternoon, police said, while friends and family of the two victims who died expressed anger and grief.
Police say 29-year-old Jayme Pasieka will also be charged with two counts of possession of an offensive weapon.
Two people were killed and four were injured after a man entered the warehouse on Friday afternoon, dressed in combat gear and armed with knives, police said.
“When our members arrived there, it was complete chaos,” Staff Sgt. Bill Clark said at a news conference on Saturday. “There were people running around all over the place.”
Police said the food storage warehouse is the size of two football fields, and victims were found scattered throughout the large complex.
Police found Fitzroy Harris, 50, dead in one of the aisles. Thierno Bah, 41, succumbed to his injuries as he was taken into an ambulance.
Police said the attack lasted just a couple of minutes at the most.
The suspect fled the scene in a Ford Explorer immediately following the stabbings, but was arrested a few hours later after he was spotted by a citizen in Edmonton’s southeast end.
Police say the suspect worked at the warehouse and had a history of erratic behaviour.
“So he’s well-known to the people inside, to not only the witnesses or the employees who watched the incident in parts, he was also known to the victims,” Clark said.
He added that the suspect, who has been “very calm, very polite, and he has been cooperative” since being arrested, will face further charges after the remaining victims are interviewed by police.
Clark would not say what Pasieka has told police since his arrest, and added that investigators are still trying to determine a motive.
"We have some ideas about what may have caused it ... but honestly we just don't know right now," Clark said. "It's just too early in the investigation."
Court records show that Pasieka had been convicted in 2010 of assault with a weapon and uttering death threats. A judge’s decision said that Pasieka had thrown eggs at a neighbour’s vehicle and set a heart-shaped fire on a street in 2009. When Pasieka was confronted by the neighbour, he came at the man with a bow and arrow. An arresting officer said he found bear spray, a collapsible baton and a knife at Pasieka’s house. According to police, Pasieka told them he did what he did in the name of “The Queen.”
Friends and family of the two men who died in the warehouse attack expressed their grief and outrage on Saturday.
Thierno Gando said his friend Bah was married and the father of four young children.
"We are all in shock. We can't believe what happened," Gando said. “He's the last person you would think something like this would happen to … He was a family guy, friendly, always ready to help.”
Gando said Bah came to Canada from his native Guinea in 2009 and had a master's degree in nanotechnology, but had difficulty finding work in his field because his English was weak.
Gando said the local Guinean community was planning to raise funds to return his body to Africa.
A statement from Harris’ family called his killer a “coward.”
“That is not how you deal with your issues. Mental health treatments nor medication will not help you.
"May God not have mercy on your soul."
With files from The Canadian Press
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