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Intruder apologized for killing

Man shot in Bahamas defending his family

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A hearse takes the body of Edgar Dart to the morgue on Grand Bahama.

BAHAMAS TRIBUNE Enlarge Image

A hearse takes the body of Edgar Dart to the morgue on Grand Bahama.

A Steinbach woman whose husband was murdered during a home invasion in the Bahamas last week says one of the intruders apologized to her 12-year-old son, George, for the deadly shooting.

Adele Dart told the Free Press on Sunday the man who struggled with Edgar Dart and fired the shot that killed the 56-year-old owner of a feed business in the RM of Taché immediately felt remorse for the tragic event.

"It was something that got way out of control," she said. "Everyone said they seemed to be high on drugs, that they didn't really know what they were doing. It certainly wasn't professional.

"George wasn't very far away and could see it all happen. The man with the gun actually apologized to him for killing his father."

Dart died on April 8 when three masked, armed intruders burst into his mother's lavish home in an upscale area of Freeport on Grand Bahama Island about 7 a.m. and demanded money and jewelry.

His parents, Colin and Joy, built the vacation home 18 years ago, but the affluent farming family is from Great Britain. Colin died of cancer this past December.

Seven people, including Edgar's mother, his brother, Colin Jr., sister-in-law Alison, the couple's son, Luke, and another nephew, Pip, were home when thieves cut through a fence that surrounds the property, tied up a gardener, knocked on the door and pushed their way in.

'Joy jumps up and says, "If you're going to shoot anyone, you must shoot me. I'm 80." And Edgar said, "Mom, sit down, don't be silly" '

Armed with a gun and a machete, the intruders went from bedroom to bedroom, forcing the occupants into the living room and tying them up.

Adele said she was told one of the men threatened to injure George, waving the gun and saying, "He's going to get it... where's the safe?"

"Joy jumps up and says, 'if you're going to shoot anyone, you must shoot me. I'm 80.' And Edgar said, 'Mom, sit down, don't be silly,' " Adele said.

"And then he obviously saw his opportunity to go for the gun. There was a big struggle and the gun went off and everyone stopped. And, unfortunately, it got Edgar.

"He didn't lie on the floor bleeding for hours. It was quite sudden. He took it through the lung. They heard the death breath, a wheeze, and (the thieves) covered him with a blanket and carried on with the burglary," Adele said.

"Colin said they were very rough and disrespectful with the men, but they were very respectful to the women and the children. They apologized to Joy for killing her son."

No arrests have been made in the homicide case.

Edgar, who owned property and a feed business, had taken his son on a spring break holiday to see his grandmother. The vacation home in the Bahamas was a slice of heaven for the entire family, said Adele, who was separated from her husband.

"It was a place they loved to be. This could have happened anywhere. There are bad people everywhere," she said. "We've never felt threatened while vacationing there. It was one of Edgar's very favourite places to go, and he'd taken George there regularly and they'd do a lot of fishing together. We always felt safe there."

Edgar had farmed in Topsham, a community in southern England, before emigrating to Canada 16 years ago with Adele.

At 6-4, and more than 250 pounds, he cut an intimidating figure. "But his looks didn't tell you about the man. He was very much an English gentleman," Adele said.

When she heard about Edgar's decision to fight back during the home invasion, it didn't surprise her in the least.

"He hated punks. He would have wanted to stop this," Adele said.

Edgar's remains will be buried near his father's final resting place in Great Britain, and Adele and George will attend the memorial service, although a date hasn't been set.

Friends and business associates in Manitoba will have the opportunity to pay their respects at a service here, at a later date.

Adele said her son has put on a brave face since the horrific incident but is having a tough time coping.

"He's been such a very brave boy, like his father. But he's only 12, for God sake," she said. "He's angry and he's having some bad dreams. I've got to keep him very close and keep an eye on him. It's an enormous thing that he went through."

For now, he'll be kept home from school, while Adele takes at least a week off from her bakery business in Steinbach.

Edgar's feed business will temporarily close for a week, giving Garytt and Evan Morfoot, two young men who help run it, time to grieve, Adele said.

"My intention is to keep the business running. It meant so much to Edgar... he put his heart and soul into it. To close it down would be a tragedy now."

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 14, 2014 A3

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