Lynden border officials nab suspect in Canada slayings
Canadian authorities say Travis Baumgartner, 21, had been on the run since Friday, when four armed guards were gunned down at the University of Alberta, three of them fatally.
EDMONTON, Alberta — The man wanted in an armored-car heist at a university in western Canada that left three armed guards dead has been arrested by U.S. border officials in Washington state, police said Saturday.
Edmonton police Supt. Bob Hassel said in a news release that Travis Baumgartner was stopped near a border crossing in Lynden, Whatcom County, which is southwest of Abbotsford, British Columbia. Officials said Baumgartner was in his pickup and traveling alone.
Police said a sum of money was found in the truck when Baumgartner was arrested. Police had earlier called it a "significant" sum.
Baumgartner, 21, had been on the run since Friday, when four armed guards were gunned down, three of them fatally. He faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Baumgartner was the fifth member of a G4S Cash Solutions crew that was reloading bank machines at a University of Alberta mall and residence where the shooting happened, police said. The armored truck was found abandoned, its engine running, not far from the security company offices. Dead at the scene were Michelle Shegelski, 26, Eddie Rejano, 39, and Brian Ilesic, 35.
"We're grateful to the border officials at Lynden, Washington, for their excellent work in arresting a man we believe was armed and extremely dangerous," Hassel said in a statement. Canadian police officials were on their way to the U.S. to bring Baumgartner back to Edmonton.
Police had launched an international manhunt to find Baumgartner.
G4S Cash Solutions spokeswoman Robin Steinberg said the company would conduct its own investigation into the shooting. The company said Baumgartner had been on the job for only three months.
"We applaud the dedication of the Edmonton Police Service and other law-enforcement agencies in apprehending Travis Baumgartner today," Steinberg said in a statement. "Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of the victims and also with the Baumgartner family."
Baumgartner's mother issued a statement Friday pleading for her son to surrender and apologizing for an argument they had.
Such shootings are rare in Canada, where residents are nervous about anything that might indicate they are moving closer to U.S. levels of gun violence.
Police said Baumgartner was driving his Ford F-150 truck with an Alberta license plate when he was arrested.
Steven Munz, a close friend of Baumgartner's, said Baumgartner had wanted to eventually become a police officer, but adding that Baumgartner didn't believe he had what it took. Munz said he had noticed a change in his friend's personality in the last year, and that he had been irrational at times.
In a profile on the dating website Plenty of Fish, Baumgartner bills himself as an armored-car guard interested in video gaming. A photo shows him shirtless holding a cellphone. He says he has a laid-back personality and a "10" physique.
"I'm a great guy. We don't come around often," he writes.
Baumgartner lived with his mother and stepsister in Sherwood Park, a bedroom community just east of Edmonton.
It's the university's summer session, so fewer students are living on campus. Police said Baumgartner was on a crew restocking a bank machine at the mall overnight.
"At some point during the delivery, three of those employees were shot," Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht said during a news conference. "A fourth employee was shot outside the mall."
It was the second robbery of a G4S armored vehicle in Edmonton in recent months. Last December, guards making a midafternoon pickup outside a casino were attacked and pepper-sprayed by two masked men. The pair fled in a Jeep with an undisclosed amount of money. Police have not made any arrests in that case.
Ian Breitzke, a student, said he was watching TV when he heard a man crying out in pain Friday. He said when police came about 10 minutes later, they broke down the door to a room behind an ATM and pulled out two people who appeared to be dead.
Associated Press writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.