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Travis Brandon BAUMGARTNER





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Armoured car guard - Robbery
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: June 15, 2012
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: 1991
Victims profile: Michelle Shegelski, 26; Edgardo Rejano, 39; and Brian Ilesic, 35 (co-workers)
Method of murder: Shooting (.38 caliber pistol)
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Status: Sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 40 years on September 11, 2013

graphic!  photo gallery  graphic!


Judge sentences Travis Baumgartner to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years

By Ryan Cormier, Mariam Ibrahim and Paula Simons - Edmonton Journal

September 11, 2013

EDMONTON - In an unprecedented decision, triple-murderer Travis Baumgartner was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years, the harshest sentence handed down in Canada since execution was abolished in 1962.

Baumgartner, 22, will be 61 years old in 2052 when he can first apply for parole.

After reading a three-hour sentencing decision, Associate Chief Justice John Rooke told the crowded courtroom he had accepted a joint sentencing submission from prosecutors and Baumgartner’s defence lawyer.

After being ordered to stand to receive sentence, the hulking Baumgartner stood with his arms crossed and the same disinterested look on his face he had throughout court proceedings. He showed no sign that receiving the longest prison sentence without chance of parole in Canada’s history bothered him in the least.

Immediately after, Baumgartner was escorted from court by the three provincial sheriffs that surrounded the prisoner’s box. He did not glance at the courtroom gallery filled with friends and family of the three co-workers he killed and the fourth that he disabled for life in an ambush and robbery in June 2012.

Baumgartner, a trainee armed guard with G4S Cash Solutions, gunned down his four co-workers, killing Michelle Shegelski, Edgardo Rejano and Brian Ilesic, and leaving a fourth, Matthew Schuman, with serious brain injuries.

Baumgartner is the first multiple murderer sentenced under a new law which allows judges to order that sentences be served consecutively rather than concurrently. The Protecting Canadians by Ending Sentence Discounts for Multiple Murderers Act came into effect in late 2011.

“The message that Parliament sent unanimously to the court has obviously been heard loud and clear,” chief Crown prosecutor Steven Bilodeau said outside court.

Rooke pulled no punches as he began his decision. “These were assassinations and executions carried out by a cold-blooded killer with no respect for human life, all for the simple motive of robbery. These are some of the most horrendous crimes anyone can imagine. It’s difficult to describe the revulsion of society, this court and the public.”

Rooke called Baumgartner’s killings “an ambush” and “cowardly.”

Baumgartner is a “pariah of human life,” Rooke said, asking rhetorically: “What was he possibly thinking?”

Baumgartner raised an eyebrow at Rooke’s rhetorical question, but otherwise remained unmoved. He stretched his tall frame in the prisoner’s box, leaned back and mostly kept his eyes closed.

In delivering the sentence, Rooke told the courtroom that he believes the maximum sentence under the new law — 75 years without parole — should be reserved for the worst killers, such as Robert Pickton or Clifford Olson.

He said there is a need for restraint to avoid a “crushing” sentence to give Baumgartner some hope of freedom and deter him from committing further crimes in prison.

Rooke said Baumgartner’s crime also harmed the community. He said that apart from his guilty pleas, Baumgartner has not accepted responsibility. He noted that a letter of remorse from Baumgartner that was mentioned in the agreed statement of facts was not a part of the court record. Baumgartner did not address the court when given the chance to do so on Monday.

In a rare move, Rooke read lengthy portions of a few of the 24 victim impact statements, which he said reveal the “heartbreak, sorrow and grief” left behind. He also said it required a “strong stomach’ to read them aloud.

Rooke said the joint submission from Crown and defence lawyers listed three mitigating factors: Baumgartner’s age, his lack of a previous criminal record and his guilty pleas. He also noted 10 aggravating factors, the most important of which was Baumgartner’s “treacherous breach of trust,” when he shot his co-workers in the head while he was supposed to be watching their backs.

“The depth of the betrayal is remarkable,” Bilodeau told the court earlier this week. “It is aggravating that his victims were vulnerable even though they were armed themselves. They were completely exposed.”

The judge agreed with Bilodeau that Baumgartner clearly planned the robbery and when the time came, he chose to kill. He fled the scene, tried to avoid detection and when he was caught, made up a “preposterous and long charade,” claiming he had amnesia.

The severe prison sentence was possible because of a new law that allows judges to decide that a convicted multiple-murderer must serve consecutive sentences before being allowed to apply for parole. Previously, sentences were served concurrently.

As noted by Rooke and defence lawyer Peter Royal, it is unlikely Baumgartner will ever be granted parole. Bilodeau mused openly in court that Baumgartner might not survive 40 years in prison.

The details of the murders were spelled out in a 15-page agreed statement of facts read Monday after Baumgartner pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Schuman, to two counts of second-degree murder for killing Shegelski and Ilesic, and to one count of first-degree murder for killing Rejano. The first-degree murder conviction in Rejano’s death was supported by evidence Baumgartner planned that killing outside the HUB Mall after shooting the other three.

According to the statement of facts, Baumgartner shot his co-workers point-blank as they worked a night shift delivering cash to bank machines.

“They had no chance,” Rooke said of the victims. “We know how it happened. It happened by surprise and shock. It was an ambush.”

Baumgartner, who had worked for G4S Cash Solutions for two months, had argued with his mother about rent money earlier in the day. At the time, he owed about $58,000 for his recently purchased Ford F-150 truck and had 26 cents in his bank account.

After the robbery, he left cash for two friends in Sherwood Park and dropped $64,000 on his mom’s kitchen table.

After a two-day manhunt, he was arrested while trying to cross the border into Lynden, Wash. He had $333,580 in cash in a backpack when he was captured.

Days after the killings, in a confession to an undercover RCMP officer in his B.C. jail cell, Baumgartner said: “I did it all. I killed those people and robbed their truck.”

As part of his sentence, Baumgartner is now banned from owning guns for the rest of his life.


Travis Baumgartner pleads guilty in armoured car shootings; Crown wants 40 years

By Chris Purdy, The Canadian Press

Monday, September 9, 2013

EDMONTON -- An Edmonton judge is to decide whether an armoured car guard who killed three co-workers and injured a fourth will be the first person in Canada to receive the harshest sentence since the death penalty was in force.

Crown and defence lawyers are both recommending Travis Baumgartner be sentenced -- under a new federal law enacted by Parliament in 2011 -- to life with no parole for 40 years.

Baumgartner, 22, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and a charge of attempted murder in a plea bargain. He was originally charged with first-degree murder in the three deaths.

Chief Crown prosecutor Steve Bilodeau said the new law gives judges the discretion to impose consecutive parole ineligibility periods in cases involving multiple murders.

Under the previous law, life sentences for more than one death had to be served concurrently, with only a single maximum parole ineligibility period of 25 years; under the new law, the most Baumgartner could face would be 75 years without parole.

Associate Chief Justice John Rooke said he will issue his decision Wednesday morning.

Bilodeau said he understands the judge is wading into "untested waters" and, if granted, it would be the toughest term imposed by a Canadian court since the last execution in 1962 -- the double hanging of Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin in Toronto.

But Bilodeau said Baumgartner's case warrants extraordinary punishment.

"Travis Baumgartner was supposed to be watching his fellow guards but instead shot them in their heads," he told the court. "The depth of betrayal is remarkable."

Bilodeau said what makes it worse was that Baumgartner tried to flee the country with a bag of cash after the shooting: "He did it for money."

Baumgartner methodically shot his fellow guards from security company G4S while they were on a routine night shift reloading ATMs at the University of Alberta campus on June 15, 2012.

Court heart that he owed a couple friends money and had argued with his mother about paying her rent on the afternoon before. He also joked with a pal about robbing his employer and sent a text that said: "This is the night."

A statement of facts entered in court said Baumgartner was in a locked ATM vestibule with three fellow guards: Michelle Shegelski, 26, Brian Ilesic, 35, and 25-year-old Matthew Schuman. Shegelski was standing watching Ilesic and Schuman reload the machines. They all had their backs to Baumgartner, who was standing at the door.

He shot them all in their heads before they had time to draw their guns in defence.

He then rushed out of the school building and shot the lone guard who was waiting in the armoured truck -- Eddie Rejano, 39.

Schuman was rushed to hospital and miraculously survived. Baumgartner left undisclosed amounts of money at the homes of two friends and plopped $64,000 in cash on his mother's kitchen table before he was arrested in British Columbia at a Canada-U.S. border crossing with nearly $334,000 in a backpack.

Bilodeau explained that Baumgartner had planned the robbery but there "is room for doubt" that he planned to kill the guards reloading the machines, and that's why the Crown agreed to the two second-degree murder pleas. But, Bilodeau said, the evidence makes it clear that Baumgartner planned to kill Rejano as he walked back to the truck, reloading his gun along the way.

Rejano's wife, Cleo, walked into court holding hands with the couple's two young sons. She was among the first to read a victim impact statement and cried as she told Baumgartner how much she hates him for taking her husband so violently.

"He will never come home to us," she said. "I still find myself trying to call his cell phone."

Her youngest son stood on a chair behind her as she spoke and, at one point, reached over and softly wiped away tears from her face with a tissue..

Shegelski had married just months before the shooting. Her husband, Victor Shegelski, told the court Baumgartner had robbed him of his "perfect woman," the one who made his life complete.

"I am exhausted and I wish I would die," he said, adding the only reason he won't kill himself is because his wife would have wanted him to carry on.

Ilesic's parents, Mike and Dianne Ilesic, said Baumgartner took away their son's chance to watch his young daughter grow, attend her graduation and walk her down the aisle at her wedding. They said they were shocked to learn about comments he'd made on Facebook before the shooting.

Among the posts were "2 days till training ... I get a gun;)" and "I wonder if I'd make the six o'clock news if I just started popping people off."

Questions about how G4S screens its employees arose as details like the Facebook posts were uncovered about the accused shooter. Last fall, company president Jean Taillon said a review was done after the shooting, but the same policies are still in use.

"These deaths were violent!" shouted Dianne Ilesic. "We ask God, 'Why, why did this happen?"'

Court heard Schuman, the lone survivor, did not want to attend court and risk being retraumatized. So his statement was read for him.

It said Baumgartner changed his life forever that day -- taking his health, his career and his pending marriage from him. Schuman, a firefighter with the military, took a second job working for G4S. The shooting happened his third day on the job.

He wrote that he lost a portion of his brain when he was shot. He still can't feel the right side of his body, has vision loss and risks having seizures. He said it's humiliating to always wear a helmet and must also learn to read and write again.

The stress of his recovery also took its toll on the relationship with his fiancee -- the mother of his young son, he said.

"People say I am one of the lucky ones. I can promise you, most days it doesn't feel like that. I don't feel lucky that I lived and they all died."

Baumgartner sat throughout the sentencing hearing with his mouth twisted in a smirk, sometimes turned down a frown, his arms folded across his chest. When asked if he wanted to address the court, Baumgartner stood and said, "Not at this point in time in history, no."

Court heard that Baumgartner first claimed to police that he'd been kidnapped and told by a man to drive to Seattle and deliver the bag of money or his family would be killed. He said he didn't remember the last few days.

After he later confessed the shooting to police, he cried and wrote letters of apology to the victims' families.

His lawyer, Peter Royal, said 40 years of parole ineligibility is appropriate, and no more than that.

He said it's unlikely notorious killers like Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olson will ever be granted parole. But his client had no previous criminal record and is still a young man.

"At some point there must be light at the end of the tunnel."

Royal said if the judge agrees to the 40-year eligibility period, Baumgartner can first apply for parole in 2052. He would be 61.


Baumgartner trial: ‘The horror, the pain, the agony, the despair...there are no words that can possibly describe it all’

By Ryan Cormier - Edmonton Journal

September 9, 2013

EDMONTON - Travis Baumgartner looked bored as the courtroom full of his victims’ family and friends wept before him.

While the Crown prosecutor on Monday read details of his blunt, violent plan to rob his employer to pay down his debts and how he murdered three of his fellow armoured truck guards and severely wounded a fourth in the process, Baumgartner stretched his tall frame in the prisoner’s box and closed his eyes.

Hours later, Cleo Badon, the widow of Eddie Rejano, told court how she hated Baumgartner. The 22-year-old shot her husband in the face during his escape from HUB Mall in the early morning of June 15, 2012. When the father of two young boys fell to the pavement, Baumgartner shot him twice more in the head.

Spectators in the court gallery watched Baumgartner closely as Badon cried on the witness stand. Some strained their necks for a closer look at the young man who pleaded guilty to multiple murder. Baumgartner looked back at none of them. Flanked by two court sheriffs, the six-foot-four prisoner tried to relax in the small prisoner’s box. He seemed annoyed at how long everything was taking.

At the front of the courtroom, Badon’s young son Xylar wiped away his mom’s tears with a pink handkerchief as he peeked over the witness stand, only his eyes and dark mohawk showing.

“The horror, the pain, the agony, the despair ...” Badon continued as she spoke of her loss. “There are no words that can possibly describe it all. Our life has been shattered.”

Baumgartner scratched his nose and twiddled his thumbs. He looked like he was listening to a weather report instead of a recounting of the massacre he committed 15 months before.

Two months on the job

The five-person G4S Cash Solutions crew arrived on-campus around midnight that night, five hours into their shift but only two hours into their cash-delivery rounds. There were usually only four guards, but three trainees were along that night — Baumgartner, Brian Ilesic, 35, and Matthew Schuman, 26. It was only Schuman’s third day on the job. Baumgartner had been hired two months earlier.

Michelle Shegelski, 26, was the trainer. The crew also included 39-year-old Rejano, who worked part-time at the Wild West Shooting Centre at West Edmonton Mall.

The campus was quiet that time of night, but hardly deserted. LRT trains still moved through the underground station and buses still pulled up every half-hour. Across campus, students often walked between buildings after late-night study sessions or parties. If any students felt unsafe that late, they called Safewalk, a volunteer group that acted as escorts.

Baumgartner was in a bad mood as the crew arrived. His mind was on his money, or rather, how little he had and how much he owed.

Baumgartner owed $58,000 on a dark blue 2011 Ford F-150 he’d recently purchased with a loan his mother co-signed. Baumgartner loved the truck, even though it was an anchor that dragged him into debt. He always parked outside the G4S parking lot so none of his co-workers would scratch the paint with a carelessly opened door.

He owed at least two friends money and was getting a reputation for being the guy who could never pay his own way.

Even his mother, Sandra Baumgartner, was on his back about finances. Just before he left for his 7 p.m. shift, they argued about the rent money he owed her for living in the basement of her Sherwood Park home. She wanted to increase his payments from once a month to twice. Troubled finances were not a new issue for the Baumgartners. Sandra had declared bankruptcy twice, including in 2004 when her marriage ended.

During the argument, Sandra barely recognized her son. He was a “different person” and “was so cold,” she would later tell police.

On his way out the door, Baumgartner told his crying mother he had a plan. “It doesn’t even matter, I’m not coming home so don’t worry about it, you’ll get your money.”

That night, his own bank account contained a measly 26 cents.

As he would later lament to an undercover police officer: “Twenty-one years old and sixty grand in debt already, man, what the f--- am I going to do?”

Besides the promise of money to his mother, there were several signs that Baumgartner knew exactly what he would do.

After watching news reports, friends would later remember his numerous jokes about robbing the very armoured truck he was paid to protect.

“This is the night,” he texted to his friend Dylan, a buddy since junior high school. Dylan took the text as another joke.

Baumgartner didn’t particularly like his job, either. He thought the other employees made fun of him, and regarded G4S management as “uncaring.” His mood soured further when the first armoured truck his crew was assigned broke down and they had to wait for a new one.

“I think I was just mad at everybody,” he later said.

That night, Baumgartner hid his anger well. When the crew pulled up to the north-end of HUB Mall for their third drop-off, everything was in order. It was routine.

Rejano stayed outside near the armoured truck while the other four went inside to fill a pair of green TD Bank machines. They could only deposit the money inside a small, secure vestibule just behind the machines. Only Ilesic had a key.

Ilesic and Schuman crouched down to fill the machines while Shegelski stood and watched over the rookies. Baumgartner was behind them all and no one paid him much attention. He saw his opportunity.

Baumgartner drew his G4S-issued .38 calibre pistol from his holster and emptied the gun into the co-workers who trusted him. He shot Schuman in the left side of the head, then Shegelski in the back of hers. He fired two shots point-blank into Ilesic’s head. None of the three had time to draw their guns. Shegelski and Ilesic died instantly. For an unknown reason, Baumgartner fired two shots into the wall.

His gun empty, Baumgartner was shocked at how loud the shots had been. His ears were ringing. Just like in movies and video games, he thought. Shooting in an enclosed space was entirely different than with ear protection at the shooting range where he claimed to fire with 100 per cent accuracy on his tests.

Baumgartner then left Schuman to die and walked out of the vestibule. The door locked behind him.

The killer hustled back through HUB Mall to where he’d come inside with the rest of the crew. He quickly reloaded his gun with a G4S-issued speed loader that loaded six bullets at a time.

Once outside, he strode toward Rejano, a man he’d trained with, and shot him in the face. He shot Rejano twice more once he fell to the ground. Baumgartner then drove the armoured car away from where Rejano lay dead, face-down on the pavement.

Throughout HUB, students heard the burst of gunshots but gave them little thought. The four blocks of HUB, a combination of shopping mall and student residences, had noises around the clock. Though the shops and services were closed, many students in the building were still awake.

As a Safewalk volunteer for years, Ashley Moroz was up late all the time. She’d been all over the nighttime campus escorting students who wanted safety in numbers for the walk home. That Thursday night, Moroz and fellow volunteer Sapphira Nuttall entered HUB Mall at the entrance near the Rutherford Library. Immediately, they heard a loud thud at the north end of the mall, near the bank machines. Though they weren’t concerned, they headed for a look.

The two students stopped at the secure door beside the ATMs and stared at the bright puddle of blood seeping underneath the door.

On the other side, Schuman laid on the floor in agony with a .38-calibre bullet lodged in his brain.

“F---, f---, I’m not going to make it,” he said through the door. Schuman didn’t realize he’d been shot, but recognized the metallic smell of the blood pooling beneath him. He didn’t know if Shegelski and Ilesic were dead or unconscious on the floor beside him.

The thick door was locked, but Moroz and Nuttall could hear Schuman’s moans and screams.

“We’ll get you out of there,” they told him. “Help is on the way.”

Schuman begged them to hurry. His shouts attracted other students who realized with horror that the sounds they’d heard minutes before were gunshots.

Moroz and Nuttall had no idea there were two bodies in the room with Schuman. They didn’t know Rejano was dead on the pavement outside the HUB doors. There was a flurry of confused 911 calls describing the shots, Schuman’s screams and a G4S van idling outside.

Desperate pleas for information began to appear on Twitter: “Hi, I am in the basement of HUB and there is a shooter upstairs. Can you please tell me what is going on?”

The police had no answers as their cruisers screeched up to HUB soon after the first 911 call came in at 12:12 a.m. Headlights illuminated Rejano’s body as they pulled up. His .38-calibre gun, standard issue for G4S officers, was still in his holster. His bullet-resistant vest was on. Around his body were .38-calibre bullet casings.

Nuttall led officers to the ATMs while Moroz stayed with Schuman. Police didn’t have a way inside, and with more blood spreading under the door, there was no time to wait for a key. As students watched and took pictures from their dorm rooms, six officers attacked the door with a battering ram, an axe and a sledgehammer.

Inside, Schuman screamed again as he mistook the attack on the door for more gunshots.

Officers tried to make sense of the bizarre, bloody crime scene. No one yet knew Baumgartner was missing from the G4S crew. Besides the dead and wounded, no one knew he’d been there at all. Schuman couldn’t remember anything but his own first name.

After a two-minute barrage against the door, officers made it inside the vestibule.

“It was really scary, when first they pulled out one dead body, a woman,” said Prasun Kundu, one of many students who gathered to watch. “Then they pulled another one, then the wounded man who was groaning.”

As paramedics worked on Schuman, Baumgartner parked the armoured truck on 47th Street near the main G4S building. His precious Ford pickup was parked alone on the street. Not knowing or caring that a surveillance camera watched, Baumgartner took roughly $360,000 in cash, put it in his own truck and sped away. He left an unknown amount of cash behind.

Police soon realized Baumgartner was unaccounted for. Had whoever stolen the money taken the young trainee? Was he lying injured in some dark corner of campus?

It didn’t make sense. Surely the crew wouldn’t have stocked the machines with an unauthorized person in the room, police thought. Baumgartner, the youngest and biggest of the crew, was the only one besides the victims who had access. No one else could have been inside.

Shortly after 2 a.m., the University of Alberta tweeted the first official word on the shootings. It was brief and ominous: “#ualberta people are unharmed. HUB in lockdown — avoid the area.”

Most of Edmonton had fallen asleep before the shootings. Those who were still awake stared at their computer screens and smartphones in shock. The city was no stranger to murder — more than 100 killings had taken place over the previous three years — but this was different. It was a mass killing, a robbery, a school shooting and a workplace slaughter all at once.

At 3 a.m., investigators had a description of Baumgartner’s truck. All active officers in Edmonton, the Alberta RCMP and even border crossings to the south received the description.

By that time, Baumgartner had made several stops in Sherwood Park. He stopped at the homes of two longtime friends and dropped off stolen cash. No longer would he be the poor friend who constantly needed to borrow. Later, both friends would call police and return the money he left for them.

Baumgartner then went home. Careful not to wake his mother, he piled $64,000 on the kitchen table they shared. He changed his clothes and left his bloody uniform for detectives to find. He took a few minutes to swap licence plates between his truck and mother’s vehicle and then he was gone.

At 4 a.m., RCMP officers began watching the Baumgartner home, a small white bungalow in Sherwood Park. All the lights were off when they arrived. There was no movement, officers noted. There was no sign of Baumgartner’s truck.

As Edmontonians woke to news that tragedy had struck their educational heart, Sandra Baumgartner woke up to a more personal nightmare. There were news reports of an armoured truck robbery at the university. People were dead. There was a pile of money on her table and the work boots her only child left behind had blood on them. Outside, the Sherwood Park neighbourhood crawled with officers.

As tactical officers and police dogs searched Baumgartner’s neighbourhood, the public heard his name for the first time. Police released his photo and a description of his truck. Investigators referred to him as “a person of interest.”

hat morning, police weren’t sure what Baumgartner had done.

“Police have not been able to confirm whether Baumgartner was involved in the incident as a suspect, or whether he is a possible abducted, injured victim,” wrote Det. Paul Gregory in his application for a search warrant.

At the time, Baumgartner was speeding southwest toward the British Columbia border. Near Banff, he stopped to throw his G4S bullet-resistant vest and gun into a river.

By mid-afternoon, police had made up their mind about Baumgartner and decided he was an inside man and a killer. At 3 p.m., police announced they would file warrants for his arrest on three charges of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder. At the University of Alberta Hospital four blocks away, Schuman had lived through surgery to remove a bullet from his brain.

After his first violent steps into infamy, Baumgartner disappeared on the run and left Edmontonians clamouring for anything about him to explain what he’d done. What was publicly known about him was largely drawn from his online footprints on social media and dating sites.

His profile on dating site Plenty of Fish showed a shirtless Baumgartner with a confident smirk taking a picture of himself in the mirror of his mother’s bathroom. Other pictures he posted show him drinking at a picnic table with friends or wearing a black ski mask with reflective glasses.

He described himself as a laid-back guy, a gentleman toward women and an avid reader.

“I’m a great guy,” he wrote, “we don’t come along very often.”

On his Twitter and Facebook accounts, Baumgartner spent his time sending messages to celebrities and regurgitating song lyrics and movie quotes. His personal favourite appeared to be the Joker from The Dark Knight: “Introduce a little anarchy.”

Though G4S didn’t monitor Baumgartner’s online presence, he dropped a big hint about his state of mind on his Facebook page two weeks before the killings: “I wonder if I’d make the 6 o’clock news if I just started poping (sic) people off.”

He also wrote: “2 days until training ... I get a gun ;)”

Off-line, Baumgartner’s life was scattered. Only 21, he’d already worked jobs in the oil and construction sectors since he graduated from Bev Facey High School in Sherwood Park in 2009.

In April 2012, he told fellow G4S trainees that he needed the job to support his mother. He wasn’t the laid-back guy he claimed on his dating profile. His moods would shift abruptly. During a meal with fellow trainees, he once threw down his cutlery, swore a blue streak and stormed out.

The night of the shootings, his latest ambition was apparently to be a police officer.

“That’s what’s so insane about this,” his mother later said. “A week before, he actually emailed me an application for the city police for me to print off and bring home. He actually had it half filled out.”

At 9:30 p.m., 21 hours after Travis ran, Sandra Baumgartner released a statement begging her son to turn himself in. There had been no confirmed sightings of him since the shootings and he was now the most wanted man in Canada. He stared sullenly from a photo that was now on every television screen and computer.

“You are not alone, Trav. Please, I love you and I want to help you. Call police now and end this peacefully,” his mother wrote. “I’m sorry we had an argument last night and had bad words between us, but I want you to come home and do the right thing. Please, Travis, I love you, and I’m pleading with you with all of my heart to end this without further bloodshed.”

The sun set and rose without any sign of Baumgartner. The most infamous face in the country still hadn’t been spotted. Investigators didn’t know if he’d remained in the Edmonton area or managed to escape to rural Alberta. After twenty-four hours, he easily could have reached another province.

Shortly after 4 p.m. the next day, Saturday, June 16, an ‘armed and dangerous’ alarm rang at the border crossing between Aldergrove, B.C., and Lynden, Wash. At the approach to the border, a licence plate scanner matched Sandra Baumgartner’s plate to a blue Ford truck about to cross the border 1,100 kilometres from Edmonton.

Employees stared from the Duty Free Americas store as Baumgartner was pulled from the truck and arrested before he reached the border. He did not resist. Photos of Baumgartner being taken into custody showed him with a resigned expression and a clean white shirt. He was a head taller than the arresting officers.

There was $333,580 in a backpack inside the truck. Baumgartner no longer had the G4S-issued gun and body armour. He didn’t even have his passport, which ensured he never would have made it into the United States.

Baumgartner hadn’t reached the American border, so Canadian authorities put him in a holding cell on the northern side of the Kenneth G. Ward border crossing, named after a guard killed at the border in 1979.

He gave a brief, confusing statement to the border guards. He said he didn’t remember anything from the past four days except that he was abducted by a mystery man and forced to deliver a backpack to Seattle or his family would be killed. He was put in a holding cell for the night.

The next morning, Baumgartner’s lies continued. He told Edmonton homicide Det. Scott Jones that same story about his lost memory and claimed his name was David Webb. He’d copied the name from a series of books and movies about the fictitious spy Jason Bourne. Webb was the character’s actual birth name.

That afternoon, an undercover RCMP officer joined Baumgartner in the cell. Baumgartner thought he was speaking to a fellow inmate as he continued with his story of amnesia, another detail stolen from the fictional Jason Bourne. He even had a description of the mystery man he claimed would hurt his family.

“He was always watching my Mom and was going to kill her if I did not deliver his money,” Baumgartner lied to Jones. “I’m just trying to help my Mom, sir.”

Just before 5 p.m., Baumgartner abandoned his ruse and confessed to the murders. He called his actions “a blind rage.” Occasionally, the young man buried his face in his hands and cried. By the time he was returned to his cell, Baumgartner had completely given up.

“I did it all,” he told the undercover officer without any prompting. “I killed those people and robbed their truck.”

The killer bragged to the officer that he’d shot all four guards and got away without a scratch.

“You must be fast,” the undercover officer said.

“I guess I am,” Baumgartner chuckled. “They couldn’t draw it fast enough. The mafia would have been impressed.”

The conversation turned to Baumgartner’s finances and the debt he faced.

“Sometimes you gotta do somethin’,” the officer told him.

“Take the initiative.”

“Yeah, grab the bull by the f---in’ horns.”

“That’s what I did,” Baumgartner said. “It just didn’t end up very well. At least I don’t have to pay for the truck anymore.”

No answers for brutal acts

Seven hours into his court proceedings, Baumgartner appeared no more interested than when they’d begun. He closed his eyes for long periods, fidgeted with his hands and slouched in his new black suit.

His lawyer, Peter Royal, dashed any hopes in the gallery that there would be a clear explanation for why three people were dead and another disabled for life. Baumgartner had chosen not to speak.

“There will be no answers offered by the accused for these brutal and senseless acts,” Royal said.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Rooke asked Baumgartner to confirm that he did not wish to address the court.

“Not at this point in time,” Baumgartner said.

He then sat down and closed his eyes once more.


How it played out ... Timeline for the U of A shooting

By Elise Stolte -

August 29, 2012

EDMONTON — Around midnight Thursday, five G4S employees drove to HUB Mall on the University of Alberta campus to deliver cash. Now three are dead, one is critically wounded, and one is wanted by police.

While the exact time of the shooting is still unclear, here’s a brief timeline of the events after.

12:30 a.m. — Students around the University of Alberta begin posting on Twitter about hearing sirens, a helicopter and loud banging noises. Some students report they are on a “lockdown.”

— Students in dorm rooms above the indoor shopping street hear a man screaming and watch police break through a heavy door. They pull out the injured man and two bodies. Another victim’s body is found lying outside the building, face down in a pool of blood.

12:36 a.m. — Cameras at the Edmonton Journal’s Eastgate printing plant on 50th Street record video of a blue G4S truck driving past. The truck is later found parked on the road a few blocks away, outside the G4S compound.

Police later request copies of the video.

12:48 a.m. — Students search for answers. @elisa_mostdope posts on Twitter: “Hi, I am in the basement of HUB and there is a shooter upstairs. Can you please tell me what is going on?”

About 1 a.m. — U of A provost Carl Amrhein gets a call from police regarding the shooting and mobilizes the university’s crisis management team.

1:20 a.m. — Police confirm three people are dead and a fourth victim is in critical condition.

1:33 a.m. — News of the shooting starts to dominate the Twitter conversation. @mariam_di, the handle for Journal reporter Mariam Ibrahim on scene, becomes the first shooting-related word to trend in Edmonton, followed shortly by HUB.

2:10 a.m. — Official U of A Twitter account posts first alert: “#ualberta people are unharmed. HUB in lockdown — avoid the area.”

3:23 a.m. — Official U of A Twitter account posts: “#ualberta Armoured car robbery in HUB Mall earlier. Edm Police on scene. HUB locked down. Exams & other business proceeding as scheduled.”

3:28 a.m. — U of A posts an emergency alert on its website: “Armoured car robbery on campus in HUB Mall. Edmonton police are on scene.”

6:49 a.m. — Reached in Toronto, G4S company spokeswoman Robin Steinberg says: “Nothing like this has happened before. I’ve been with G4S for five and a half years and nothing even close to this. This is just horrific.”

9:04 a.m. — Mayor Stephen Mandel posts: “Condolences to everyone touched by the fatal robbery/shooting at #UAlberta. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. #yeg #senselesstragedy”

10 a.m. — Neighbours watch police surround a home in Sherwood Park.

11:05 a.m. — Edmonton police release a photo of Travis Brandon Baumgartner, 21, and declare him a person of interest, asking the public to watch for his dark-blue Ford F-150 truck with licence number ZRE 724.

2:50 p.m. — A couple leaves flowers at the scene of the abandoned G4S truck and notes for Matt, Michelle, Brian and Eddie.

3 p.m. — Edmonton police announce they are in the process of filing warrants for the arrest of Baumgartner, 21, on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

4 p.m. — The shooting victims are publicly identified. Michelle Shegelski, Brian Ilesic and Eddie Rejano died of their wounds. Matthew Schumam was in critical condition in hospital.


Border guards stop university murder suspect carrying $334,000 cash

Josh Wingrove - The Globe and Mail

Sunday, Jun. 17 2012

He’d been on the run for 40 hours, and his world was closing in.

After a shooting in Edmonton Friday that left three security guards dead and a fourth injured, the fifth guard became the subject of a manhunt.

His mother begged him to give up, police were reaching out to his friends, and authorities across Canada and abroad knew what kind of truck he drove and what licence plates he had.

All that heist suspect Travis Baumgartner had, it seems, was a backpack with $334,000 in Canadian money and a half-baked plan to evade first-degree murder charges: head for the border.

At 3:08 p.m. local time on Saturday, his blue 2011 Ford F-150 pulled up to a small border station in southwest B.C., between the American town of Lynden, Washington and the Canadian town of Aldergrove. The Kenneth G. Ward border crossing, named for an American border officer shot and killed by a murder suspect in 1979, handles about 3,000 vehicles on a typical weekend day. The Ford, though, raised a red flag.

As the truck approached, cameras automatically scanned his Alberta licence plate, CAA 636, and raised an alert. The plate belongs to his mother, Sandy, and had been stolen. “Armed and dangerous” popped up on American officials’ screen.

Seconds later, Mr. Baumgartner arrived at the gate. He had no chance to show a passport (which was just as well, since he didn’t have one) or say where he was going; instead, half a dozen U.S. border guards surrounded the truck, .40-calibre pistols drawn, shouting at Mr. Baumgartner to turn off the engine.

“Generally our greetings start with ‘keep your hands where I can see them, do not move,’ ” said Thomas Schreiber, Chief U.S. Customs and Protection Officer in Washington state. “The first thing we wanted to do is gain control of that 2,000-pound weapon – the vehicle.”

He gave up without a fight. A guard opened the driver’s door and pulled the 21-year-old Albertan to the ground, wet from an afternoon of rain. They patted him down for a weapon, finding nothing, and handcuffed him. “He complied with the officers’ demands. It went very smoothly,” Mr. Schreiber said. Finally, they briefly searched the truck, finding the cash but no gun, careful to not ruin forensic evidence.

Edmonton police were told of the arrest soon after, and were relieved: they’d been repeatedly telling the public that Mr. Baumgartner was likely armed and dangerous. “Mr. Baumgartner was arrested peacefully and without incident, which was the best outcome that we could have possibly hoped for,” said Bob Hassel, superintendent of criminal investigations for Edmonton police.

So ended a manhunt stemming from the notorious homicide case, one with Mr. Baumgartner as the lone suspect. He’d been on the job for G4S Cash Solutions, a private security company, only a few months before the shooting that took place just after midnight Friday morning during a stop to refill a bank machine at the main University of Alberta campus in Edmonton. Five G4S staff were on the job, including Mr. Baumgartner. He’s accused of shooting the other four, grabbing cash and fleeing.

It was Saturday evening when word of the arrest reached the Edmonton-area family home of Brian Ilesic, 35, one of the guards fatally shot. His family burst into applause. “We’re very happy that he was arrested,” said his mother, Dianne. The family had gathered to share stories about Brian, laughing as they coped with grief. “We have to have some laughter to cover up so much sadness,” she said.

Mr. Baumgartner was formally rejected entry to the U.S., leaving Canadian authorities free to arrest him without any extradition complications. Cameras captured his transfer, Mr. Baumgartner looking dishevelled with an unkempt mop of hair and a long-sleeve white shirt.

Edmonton police dispatched eight officers – five homicide detectives, and three forensic investigators – to Aldergrove Saturday night. On Sunday, they began interviewing Mr. Baumgartner and searching the Ford truck. His company-issued gun and body armour are still missing.

There was virtually no chance the border rush would work. He had only an Alberta driver’s licence – his own – which isn’t enough to enter the U.S. And within four hours of the crime, or more than a day before Mr. Baumgartner arrived at the Kenneth G. Ward station, Edmonton police had notified the RCMP and U.S. border officials to be on the lookout for him and his truck. “We had the border covered fairly quickly,” Supt. Hassel said.

Border officials say people occasionally underestimate the level of security at a crossing station, but the officials are left dumbfounded by some attempts. About a million people apply to enter the U.S. each day, on average, and roughly 50 are arrested, said Mike Milne, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“I am always amazed. This is a port of entry on the U.S. border. People understand arrests happen on the border,” added Mr. Schreiber. “For someone to drive up and, by their own free will, come in contact with a law-enforcement agent does not always make sense. But we’re happy to arrest them anyways.”

Mr. Baumgartner is scheduled to be returned to Edmonton this week, where he’ll face three charges of first-degree murder, one of attempted murder and four counts of armed robbery. Meanwhile, at the G4S offices in Edmonton, a makeshift memorial popped up for the dead and injured. They include Michelle Shegelski, 26, who had worked for G4S since 2008 and was training two new workers before her death Friday, and both Mr. Ilesic and Eddie Rejano, 39, the new employees who were killed.

A fourth guard, military firefighter Matthew Schuman, remained in critical condition in hospital Sunday, Edmonton police said. The four guards’ plight was on the minds of American border officials, who weren’t celebrating the arrest.

“One of the things we need to be mindful of is this is a terrible tragedy,” Mr. Schreiber said Sunday afternoon. “Tragically, sometimes, the only thing we can do is help bring closure and justice to a case. And that’s what happened yesterday.”


Inside job suspected in fatal University of Alberta shooting

Josh Wingrove - The Globe and Mail

Friday, Jun. 15 2012

In the eyes of police, it was an inside job.

Minutes after midnight Friday morning, a team of private security guards pulled up to a dark service road along the north edge of the University of Alberta campus, carrying cash to restock bank machines.

It was otherwise a routine stop for the company, known as G4S Cash Solutions, on a quiet Edmonton evening. Two trainees were among the team. But so too was another young employee – one who’d soon become the subject of a manhunt.

The team split up, with at least one staying by two vehicles, a large armoured truck and a smaller minivan, and at least three others heading up to the second-floor concourse of HUB mall, a long strip of indoor shops with several floors of dormitories on either side. The bank machine was near a window overlooking the vans.

Moments later, gunfire broke out. Firecrackers, some students thought, but a campus volunteer came across the first bodies in the mall shortly after – two dead, with a third injured and screaming for help. Calls to police began rolling in as students took photos from their dormitory rooms.

Outside, lying face-down with arms and legs neatly together, was another guard, fatally shot next to the minivan. With no security cameras, a quick exit path and the cover of darkness, it was what one source called a “perfect kill zone.”

The armoured van was gone, later discovered in what could be considered the unlikeliest of places – some 65 blocks away, down the street from the G4S compound. Its engine was still running, its lights were still on.

As dawn broke over the city, word spread about the tragedy – three guards dead, a fourth severely wounded and a mystery shooter on the loose. The shooter fled so quickly that campus officials thought it unnecessary to bother activating their emergency system, which would have notified staff and students by text message.

But police settled in on one key piece of the puzzle: one guard was missing.

By Friday afternoon, after initially calling him a “person of interest,” investigators issued four warrants for the arrest of G4S guard Travis Baumgartner, 21, including three of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder.

“And I can’t stress enough: We sincerely believe that Baumgartner is armed, he’s dangerous and we’re urging the public to use extreme caution should you happen to encounter this person,” Bob Hassel, the superintendent of criminal investigations for Edmonton Police, said in the late afternoon.

Mr. Baumgartner lived in Sherwood Park, an Edmonton suburb, and had argued with his mother Thursday evening.

His mother, Sandy, issued a plea Friday evening for her son to turn himself in.

"I'm sorry that we had an argument last night, and had bad words between us, but I want you to come home and do the right thing. Let's work this out together, she said. "Trav', as your mother, I ask that you come forward now and take responsibility for your actions. Please Travis, I love you, and I'm pleading with you with all my heart, to end this without further bloodshed. As your mother, I promise to you now, that I will be there by your side to support you."

Police tactical officers had surrounded the family's Sherwood Park home earlier Friday, to no avail. A nearby home daycare was evacuated. “[I’m] terrified, horrified. I’m still shaking,” said Noelle MacLachlan, 29, who came to pick up her children, age 4 and 1. But Mr. Baumgartner remained at large - even changing his license plate, police announced Friday night.

A profile of the wanted man then began to emerge: a 21-year-old who was somewhat of an outsider – he had friends, but one said he wasn’t prone to the “status-quo.” He posed online with a gun, or wearing a balaclava, and his last Facebook status quoted the ramblings of the Joker in a recent Batman movie, The Dark Knight. “One night she grabs the kitchen knife to defend herself, now he doesn’t like that... Not... One... Bit...” Mr. Baumgartner wrote. Two weeks earlier, he’d written: “I wonder if I’d make the 6 o clock news if I just started poping [sic] people off.”

In another online profile, on a dating website, he describes himself as an outdoorsman whose ambition “is to better our world” and “become a CEO” to help others. “I’m a great guy, we don’t come along often.”

News of his involvement surprised some who knew him. “It’s really surprising. I can’t believe he’d be the person of interest, that he’d be involved in any way in these shootings,” said former classmate Billy Gascoigne, 20, who went to school with Mr. Baumgartner.

Ross McLeod, president of Canada’s Association of Professional Security Agencies, said only “amateurs or fools” would undertake this kind of heist, saying the bloodshed isn’t necessary. “It was really botched and messy and very, very amateurish,” Mr. McLeod said. “Whomever it was didn’t know their stuff.”

Families were left stunned at the sudden loss of the other guards – identified as Michelle Shegelski, 26, Brian Ilesic, 35, and Eddie Rejano, 39, with a fourth, Matthew Schuman, left in hospital.

Ms. Shegelski was the veteran among the group, having worked for GS4 Canada since about 2008. Mr. Ilesic and Mr. Rejano had each been on the job for only a few months. Mr. Schuman, another rookie with just a couple of months experience, is a corporal in the military base at CFB Edmonton.

Ms. Shegelski was married just two months ago. “It’s especially tragic,” said Roy Shegelski, her father-in-law, his voice breaking. “They had just started a life together.”

The company, G4S, remained tight-lipped. There was no indication of how much, if any, money was stolen.

With reports from Dawn Walton in Calgary and Tu Thanh Ha and Stephanie Chambers in Toronto



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