An abnormal span of two murder-free months in Edmonton died last week, giving birth to the most ruthless seven-day stretch in years.

Four people were murdered in the latter part of last week, in what a local crime expert calls a grim reminder to Edmontonians that slayings are the lifeblood of the city’s underlying culture of violence.

“Canadians don’t respond in the manner of this extreme violence, and Edmonton is starting to mimic American cities,” said Grant MacEwan criminologist Bill Pitt. “There’s a resort to violence in this city.”
A man’s body was found in Hermitage Park around 5:30 Sunday morning.

Police confirmed yesterday that the 20-year-old’s death is being treated as a homicide and a 22-year-old man and a 36-year-old man have been charged with first-degree murder, robbery and kidnapping in connection.

Homicide detectives pleaded with the public last week for tips in cases gone cold, using the lull in recent murders to crack open unsolved files.

“That wishful thinking just vanished,” Pitt said.

Staff Sgt. Bill Spinks said that though there are still a few officers working on cold cases, homicide detectives have their hands full.

“It’s definitely going to be a bit more of a challenge co-ordinating historical ones and the four recent ones, that’s for sure,” Sgt. Spinks said.

Arrests have been made in three of last week’s four homicides, numbers that bode well for a police department stretched to the extreme, Pitt said. In the murder of Duane MacArthur, it’s believed the gunman took his own life.

Unlike in Vancouver, a city plagued with gang violence, the last cluster of local murders does not appear to be gang- or drug-related.

Pitt blames a recurring rogue mentality and elevated levels of substance abuse and domestic violence for Edmonton’s lethal reputation.

Edmonton’s murder total rests at 10 for 2009.

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