The sharp crack of gunfire rang twice through a quiet morning in southeast Edmonton Thursday, and within minutes, two men were dead.
Around 10:15 a.m., a robber burst through the door of Bella Tonic Spa on Millbourne Road, a family-run salon and laser hair clinic.
A man thrust a loaded handgun at employees, and demanded cash. A man working in the salon brazenly confronted the gunman.
“A shot was fired, and the employee was killed,” said police spokesman Jeff Wuite.
Frantically, a woman called 9-1-1, telling the operator she thought her husband had been murdered. Emergency crews rushed to the scene to attempt to save the man’s life. He was dead by the time crews arrived.
The shooter sprinted away, two blocks north to Millbourne Shopping Centre, where he attempted another robbery, this time of a liquor store.
Police arrived within minutes, blocking off the entrance to Millbourne Liquor. When the defeated man realized he was surrounded, he turned the gun on himself.
His lifeless body lay in the doorway through the morning, while robbery and homicide detectives scoured the scene for evidence and witnesses.
Indira Saroya and her husband, Joginder, have known the family who own Bella Tonic for many years, and say the shooting has shaken their faith in the neighbourhood.
“They are really nice people,” Joginder said. “This is really shocking.”
Police were unable to confirm the identity of either man yesterday.
Two Catholic elementary schools were locked down after the shootings. The Saroyas said their first concern was the 14 children at their business, Shiva Day Care, a few doors down from Bella Tonic.
Having run for MLA in Edmonton-Millwoods-Beaumont in the last provincial election, Indira said she’s very involved in the community, but fears crime is on the rise.
“It is very scary,” she said. “We’re very concerned.”
The shooting comes after another recent shopping mall incident in Toronto, in which a security guard was shot in the chest, but survived thanks to the bulletproof vest he was wearing.