No policy changes for G4S after Edmonton shootings
By The Canadian PressNews Retail
EDMONTON — Security company G4S hasn't made any policy changes since one of its armoured car guards in Edmonton was charged with killing three colleagues during a heist.
Company president Jean Taillon said recently a review was done after the shooting at the University of Alberta in June. But nothing has changed.
“We continue to follow the same policies,” he said.
“We have done a full end-to-end review of our screening and training policies and we continue to look for better ways to improve that. But all in all, we’ve actually maintained the process and procedures that we’re doing today.”
The issue of the company screening its employees was highlighted following the shooting as details were uncovered about the accused shooter, Travis Baumgartner.
The Facebook page of a Travis Baumgartner posted quotes by the anarchist Joker from the movie “Dark Knight.” The movie included a violent bank heist. The profile picture on the page showed a person wearing sun glasses and a mask.
Two weeks before the shooting, the page also had a post that mused: “I wonder if I’d make the six o’clock news if I just starting popping people off.”
A former co-worker who trained with Baumgartner a few months before the shooting said Baumgartner acted odd on the job and his moods sometimes changed suddenly.
A crew of G4S guards was reloading ATM machines on the university campus when shots rang out. Michelle Shegelski, 26, Brian Ilesic, 35, and Eddie Rejano, 39, died at the scene. A fourth guard, 25-year-old Matthew Schuman, was quickly rushed to hospital and miraculously survived a bullet to the head.
Police named Baumgartner, a fifth guard on the crew, as a suspect and a massive manhunt ensued. The 21-year-old was arrested the next day B.C. at the Canada-U.S. border. Police said they found $334,000 in his backpack.
Search warrants revealed that his mother told officers she woke up the morning of the shooting to find $64,000 in cash in her home. The documents suggested that the night before, she and her son had argued over rent money he had failed to pay her.
Baumgartner is scheduled to have a jury trial in September on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
“This was a senseless tragedy that took three young lives and irreparably altered so many others,” Edmonton police Chief Rod Knect said after meeting with Taillon. “Nothing but perhaps the passage of time will ease the pain of the families.”
Taillon presented the police force and the head of the city’s emergency medical services department with a plaque for their dedicated service in the aftermath of the shooting. He also praised them for helping with fundraisers for the families of the dead guards and the one who is still recovering.
“I’ve never seen a community come together so strongly and I feel this is part of our home,” said Taillon, sporting one of the black wrist bands for sale that is etched with the first names of the guards who died.
“I want to thank you again for everything that you’ve done.”
Robert Murray, a G4S manager in Edmonton, choked back tears as he talked about having dinner with some family members of the dead guards five weeks after the shooting. Schuman showed up as a surprise guest.
He was able to walk and speak with them. Everyone at the table was amazed, Murray said.
“Basically we had three grown men crying at the table to see how well Matt was doing,” he said. “It was very inspiring for us.”
He later saw Schuman at a summer fundraiser and the man was finally able to hold his two-year-old son. Murray said Schuman is doing remarkably well, but is still undergoing rehabilitation.
Working for G4S was Schuman’s civilian job. He also is a corporal and Air Force firefighter stationed at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton.
Murray said Schuman is still a military member and will have a job with G4S if he ever wants to return to the company.
“There’ll always be an opportunity, depending on what his skill level is,” said Murray. “There’ll always be a place for him at G4S. We’ll find something for him.”
— Chris Purdy
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