Suspect in deadly armoured car heist faces murder trial in Edmonton

EDMONTON – An Edmonton man charged in a bloody armoured car heist at the University of Alberta is to appear in an Edmonton courtroom today for the start of a week-long murder trial.

Former G4S guard Travis Baumgartner is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of three of his co-workers and attempted murder in the serious wounding of a fourth.

An overnight crew of five armed guards was reloading ATM machines on the university campus in June 2012 when shots rang out.

When the shooting stopped, 26-year-old Michelle Shegelski, 35-year-old Brian Ilesic and 39-year-old Eddie Rejano lay dead.

Matthew Schuman, who was 25, was rushed to hospital and miraculously survived a bullet to the head.

Police quickly named Baumgartner, who was 21 and the fifth guard on the crew, as a suspect and he was arrested the next day in British Columbia at a Canada-U.S. border crossing.

Police said they found $334,000 in a backpack he had with him.

Search warrants revealed that his mother told officers she woke up the morning of the shooting to find $64,000 in cash in her home.

The documents indicated that the night before, she and her son had argued over rent money he had failed to pay her.

Baumgartner’s trial is to be heard by a judge without a jury.

Questions about how G4S screens its employees arose as details were uncovered about the accused shooter.

The Facebook page of a Travis Baumgartner posted quotes by the anarchist Joker from the movie “Dark Knight.” The movie included a violent bank heist. The profile picture on the Facebook page showed a person wearing sun glasses and a mask.

Two weeks before the shooting, the page also had a post that mused: “I wonder if I’d make the six o’clock news if I just starting popping people off.”

A former co-worker who trained with Baumgartner a few months before the shooting said Baumgartner acted odd on the job and his moods sometimes changed suddenly.

Last fall, company president Jean Taillon said a review was done after the shooting, but the same policies continue to be used.

Rejano was a married father of two young boys and had only started working as a guard with G4S Canada about six months before the shooting. Friends said he aspired to be a police officer and worked a second job as a gun range officer at the Wild West Shooting Centre at West Edmonton Mall.

Ilesic, a father of one daughter, was remembered as a big-hearted person with an infectious smile.

Shegelski, a newlywed, was laid to rest in her wedding dress.

A year after the shooting, an oak tree was planted at the university to remember the guards.

Schuman, who was also a corporal in the military and an Air Force firefighter, has slowly recovered from his severe injuries.