Condolences to Edmonton from Africa
EDMONTON - A family grieving the death of a husband and father who was stabbed during a rampage at an Edmonton grocery warehouse has received condolences from government officials in the West African country of Guinea.
Thierno Bah, 41, was originally from Guinea and had only been in Alberta with his wife and four young children for a few months when he died along with Fitzroy Harris, 50, on Friday.
Abdoulaye Barry, a friend of Bah's since childhood who is president of the Guinean Association of Edmonton, said he spoke Sunday morning with the government minister responsible for Guineans who live abroad.
He said the minister and other officials wished to pass along condolences, not just to Bah's immediate family, but to all Guineans in Canada.
Barry said the officials told him that they had also visited with Bah's relatives in the capital, Conakry, to express their sympathies.
"We are all in shock. It has been a long weekend for us all," Barry said.
Witnesses to the attack said a man with a knife in each hand and wearing a military-style vest burst into the Loblaws warehouse during shift-change and started stabbing people throughout the complex.
In addition to the two deaths, several others were injured.
The suspect was arrested several hours later without incident, sitting in his vehicle in an industrial area on the opposite end of the city.
Jayme Pasieka, 29, from Edmonton, faces two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder, aggravated assault and two counts of possession of an offensive weapon.
Pasieka's first court appearance is scheduled for Monday morning.
Members of Edmonton's Guinean community met Sunday afternoon to discuss ways they could help Bah's wife and children, who range in age from seven to just 10 months.
Friends have said Bah first came to Montreal in 2009 and had a master's degree in nanotechnology, but had difficulty finding work in his field because his English was weak. He moved his family moved to Edmonton in October to improve his fluency, his friends said.
Barry said the children have all been told the tragic news.
"The first one was crying, saying, 'Who is going to provide for us?'" Barry said.
Friends say the family plans to return the body to Guinea.
Barry said officials in Guinea wished to hear about funeral plans, but those are on hold until police release the body. He said investigators have told the family that may not happen until Wednesday.
Bah was Muslim, and Barry said that while Muslims wish to have funerals take place quickly, he said everyone understood that police need time to conduct a thorough investigation.
Harris's family, meanwhile, recalled his talent as a DJ and love of reggae music in a statement issued Saturday.
They also expressed anger at his killer.
"May God not have mercy on your soul," it read.
Police haven't said what they believe was the motive for the attack.
Pasieka had worked at the warehouse some time filling orders.
Police said they searched his house on Saturday, but aren't releasing details of what they found.
Court records show Pasieka had a history of erratic behaviour.
A judge convicted Pasieka of assault with a weapon and uttering threats in 2010 and he was sentenced to 15 months probation.