Edmonton shooting suspect a racist: co-workers

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2010/03/13/edmonton-chrysler-sho...

Edmonton shooting suspect a racist: co-workers
CBC News
Co-workers say the alleged gunman in a fatal shooting at an Edmonton car dealership on Friday was recently suspended for making racial comments.

Police say a man with a gun walked into Great West Chrysler near Stony Plain Road and 178th Street at about 7:50 a.m. MT and started shooting.

It's believed he shot and killed one man, shot and wounded another and then turned the gun on himself.

Sources have identified the shooter as Dave Burns, 55, an employee who was recently suspended for making racial comments.

Co-workers say he didn't get along well with visible minorities, and some went as far as to describe him as a white supremacist.

They also tell CBC News that Burns had a swastika tattooed on his body and had a very hot temper.

Sources have identified the dealership's parts manager, Garth Radons, as the man pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was one of the first police officers on scene and it's believed she found his body.

A third employee, identified only as Mike, is in hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Condolences pour in for victims

A Facebook memorial page set up in honour of the victims had more than 200 members and dozens of posts by Saturday afternoon.

One person described Radons as "the sweetest guy ever" whose "smile lit up every one around him."

Co-workers describe him as a fun and outgoing guy, who was passionate about baseball.

Meanwhile, the thoughts of staff at the dealership have turned to whether the worker identified as Mike will survive his life-threatening wounds.

Bart Yachimec, the dealership's owner, said his wounded employee has undergone two operations since the shooting.

"Our prayers go out to the families. We still have one in the hospital that I'm going down to check on. We hope that he makes it, we pray that he makes it. That is the key now," Yachimec said Saturday.

"They operated on him and he came out. They had to take him back in for a second operation."

Shooter 'snapped'

Yachimec declined to confirm the names of the shooter or the victims because of the ongoing police investigation. But he said the suspect had worked at the dealership for more than 20 years and the fatal shooting victim for 15 years.

"I had known the man for a long time. I just can't figure out what happened. He just snapped. Something went awry somehow. I know he was very attached to this dealership," he said.

"We have talked to a lot of people about it and that is what they are all saying. Not when they worked together for years."

One person who knew Burns from Alberta's four-by-four vehicle community said that when he heard about the shooting he just couldn't believe it.

"This was a guy who snapped for no apparent reason. It was not like he was a monster," said Corey Kruchkowski.

He said Burns helped organize the growing movement in the province to drive off-road vehicles in an environmentally responsible way.

"This guy obviously was an altruistic person in some parts of his personality. If you met him in the years before this happened you would never think that this was someone who could hurt people."

Employees have been offered grief counselling to deal with the violent loss of their colleague. There is already talk of how they will help the families of the victims. A memorial service will also be held at some point, but for now everyone is still trying to come to terms with what happened.

The dealership was to remain closed over the weekend.

Autopsies on the suspect and the victim are scheduled for Monday.

With files from The Canadian Press

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2010/03/13/edmonton-chrysler-sho...

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Comments

azarour wrote at 8:11:

""when my grandfather arrived in canada, there were help wanted signs in the window which said "irish need not apply."
dont for a moment think racism was recently invented for visiable minorities."

I'd like to add to this point.

I've seen people on these comment forms suggest that Canada is less ethnically harmonious now than it used to be. Perhaps implicitly suggesting something about the cultures of recent immigrants.

However, this is completely false.

The KIan was fairly big in Alberta in the 1920's. No, they were not focusing on the Chinese or the few Blacks. They were focusing on Eastern European immigrants.

There are numerous examples in our history of very serious confilct between different ethnic groups of white people.

Our history books are rife with examples of bigotry meeting immigrants, regardless of whether they were white or not. If anything, our current society, though certainly problematic, might be the most welcoming of immigrants that we've ever been.

There will always be fear of 'the other' and 'the outsider'. In the 1920's in Alberta this was the Eastern European. In the 2010's it is the South and West Asian. And dare I say it, despite appearances to the contrary, the current generation of immigrants has it better than the former ones did."

Your comments are excellent. They bear repeating. "Bull hunk" was a common and well accepted phrase in the 50's and 60's here in Alberta. That still didn't make it right. If people are so inclined they will find a group to villify.

I think it's a balanced story, but a person can pick at a balanced story too, if he wants to."

CBC changed their story, the part about Burns good side was not in the original story. The first version focused on Burns supposed racism.

Anyone with a nazi symbol tattooed on their body doesn't have a "good side", period. Giving any kind of paid employment to a person who supports naziism is an insult to every Canadian who risked or lost their life defending the world against this scourge.