Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Manhunt ends at border

Armoured car heist left 3 dead; suspect in custody

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EDMONTON — The security guard wanted in a deadly armoured car heist at the University of Alberta was arrested at gunpoint at the border between British Columbia and Washington State on Saturday evening, with more than $300,000 in cash in his truck.

The takedown of Travis Baumgartner, at the Lynden, Wash., border crossing southwest of Abbotsford, B.C., brought to an end a 36-hour manhunt — at least 11 of which the murder suspect must have spent on the road.

Mike Milne with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said a computerized licence-plate reader scanned the back of Baumgartner's truck and an armed-and-dangerous alert sounded. Officers approached the truck and took him into custody without a fight.

"A search of the vehicle revealed an excess of over $300,000 in Canadian currency," Milne told The Canadian Press. "The final number is still to be determined there."

Milne added no weapons were found on Baumgartner or inside the truck.

Employees at the nearby duty-free shop said they watched part of the arrest from their front window.

A worker who would only give her first name, Adrienne, said she saw two border patrol vehicles with lights flashing and officers standing outside with their guns drawn. She said she didn't hear any shots fired. Nobody in the store knew what it was about until a reporter called.

"It's pretty scary," she said. "Luckily nothing here happened."

Police had been looking for Baumgartner since early Friday when four guards with G4S Cash Solutions Canada were gunned down, three of them fatally.

Police said earlier Saturday they had received no tips on his whereabouts and their search had spread internationally.

Baumgartner apparently didn't switch vehicles during his time on the lam. The 21-year-old was found driving the same dark blue Ford F-150 in which police believe he left Edmonton, with his mother's Alberta licence plate on the back.

Edmonton police Sgt. Dave Reitzel said Baumgartner was alone when arrested.

Insp. Bob Hassel released a statement extending his gratitude to those involved in the arrest.

"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," he said.

A news conference was planned for this afternoon.

Police have said Baumgartner was the fifth member of an armoured car crew that was reloading bank machines at a university mall and residence building where the shooting happened.

An armoured car was found after the shooting halfway across the city, not far from the G4S depot.

It was running and had its lights on when discovered by police.

Baumgartner is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Officials were on the way to pick up the prisoner and his pickup truck and bring them back to Edmonton, police said.

Eddie Rejano, Michelle Shegelski and Brian Ilesic have been identified as the guards who died. Matthew Schuman was still listed in critical condition Saturday.

G4S thanked police in a news release.

"We applaud the dedication of the Edmonton Police Service and other law enforcement agencies in apprehending Travis Baumgartner today," said spokeswoman Robin Steinberg. "Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of the victims and also with the Baumgartner family.

"We will continue to co-operate fully with the Edmonton Police Service, while conducting our own detailed investigation into the incident."

Baumgartner lives with his mother, Sandy Baumgartner, in Sherwood Park, a bedroom community just east of Edmonton. She had released a statement during the manhunt pleading for her boy to turn himself in "to end this without further bloodshed."

Details that have emerged about Baumgartner's life are contrasting.

Friends say he had designs on being a police officer, but settled into a job with G4S a few months ago after deciding he didn't have what it takes for law enforcement.

In an online dating profile, he says he is a "great guy" who is laid back and has a "10" physique.

But his Facebook page is much darker, quoting the anarchist Joker from the movie Dark Knight and musing about "popping people off."

While police searched for him Saturday, details continued to emerge about his colleagues.

Rejano, 39, also aspired to be a police officer and was a competitive target shooter who worked a second job as a gun range officer at the Wild West Shooting Centre at West Edmonton Mall.

"He liked the aspects of protecting individuals and taking care of the community," said Yanira Sale, a co-worker at the gun range.

She added that can't believe the father of two young boys is gone. She keeps thinking he is going to walk through the door to start work.

"It hasn't really sunk in," she said. "It's pretty shocking and the manner in which it happened has affected us the most. It should never have happened."

Shegelski was 26 and had recently married. Her husband, coincidentally, is a student at the University of Alberta.

Brian Ilesic was 35 and had a 12-year-old daughter.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 17, 2012 A3

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