News Canada

'Do the right thing,' mom pleads with UofA suspect

Matthew Dykstra, QMI Agency

The mother of a 21-year-old armoured car worker has publicly urged him to turn himself into police after three co-workers were shot dead and a fourth left clinging to life during a heist at the the University of Alberta just after midnight Friday.

"I am sorry we had an argument (Thursday) night ... but I want you to come home and do the right thing," Travis Brandon Baumgartner's mother, Sandy, said in a statement read by police Friday night.

"Trav, as your mother, I ask that you come forward and take responsibility for your actions."

Investigators are asking anyone with information about Baumgartner, 21, to contact police and not to approach the man deemed armed and dangerous.

Canada-wide warrants are out for Baumgartner who investigators plan to charge with three counts of first-degree murder and one count attempted murder.

He is the owner of a dark blue Ford F-150 pick-up truck with Alberta licence plate number, ZRE 724. Police also believe he swapped his plate with another Alberta plate marked CAA 636.

Travis Brandon Baumgartner is wanted by police in connection to the fatal shooting at the University of Alberta. (Handout)

The three G4S Security guards -- Michelle Shegelski, Brian Ilesic and Eddie Rejano -- were killed during an exchange of funds inside the HUB Mall.

A fourth victim, Matthew Schuman, was taken to hospital in critical condition. He needed surgery for a gunshot wound to the head, a source who is close to the man's family said. Schuman has a fiancee and a young child.

"To lose one employee would be devastating. To lose three employees is beyond heart wrenching," G4S Cash Services company spokesman Robin Steinberg said.

At 8:32 a.m., investigators and the medical examiner removed one body from the scene. The two remaining bodies were taken from the scene just before 12:30 p.m. Friday.

A black tarp had been set up underneath the mall's pedway and forensic investigators worked behind it. That is where one of the victims -- a man -- was shot dead. The other two victims -- a man and woman -- were removed from the bank machine vault.

Schuman was earlier taken from the vault after police used a battering ram to bust down the door.

Later Friday morning, officers surrounded a second armoured car discovered outside the Edmonton Sun press plant.

Investigators have determined the second armoured car is empty and was abandoned. They said it may have been a getaway vehicle.

Edmonton Sun surveillance video from the press plant -- adjacent to the G4S Security armoured car parking lot -- shows the second armoured car park at the lot where the driver exits sometime before 1 a.m. He gets into an awaiting truck which then drives away.

City police have reached out to counterparts across the country as they search for the killer or killers.

Police said the robbery was an inside job perpetrated by persons who knew the armoured cars' routes.

Baumgartner's home was surrounded by RCMP and city police Friday afternoon, though it was not believed he was inside.

"To the families of those involved, and to the co-workers of these employees from G4S, all of us here at the Edmonton Police Service, and all the citizens of Edmonton, share your feelings of shock and disbelief," Police Chief Rod Knecht said. "Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

No students were harmed or involved in the shooting.

While armoured car robberies are rare across the country, Edmonton had a previous heist in December. On Dec. 1, a daring daylight robbery of an armoured car occurred outside the Century Casino in north Edmonton where a man dressed in black pepper-sprayed an armed G4S Security Services guard outside the casino at about 1:55 p.m. That case remains unsolved.