Engaged couple killed in dispute with landlord, Hamilton police say

Police and investigators with the Special Investigations Unit could be seen outside a home in Stoney Creek Sunday, where three people died, including two tenants and one man who police say had shot them. (Aura Carreño Rosa/CBC - image credit)
Police and investigators with the Special Investigations Unit could be seen outside a home in Stoney Creek Sunday, where three people died, including two tenants and one man who police say had shot them. (Aura Carreño Rosa/CBC - image credit)

A neighbourhood in Stoney Creek is "shocked" after "horrifying" events over the weekend that took the lives of a couple in their 20s who police say were renters in an east Hamilton home.

Police say a 27-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man were shot and killed by their landlord after a dispute Saturday. When police arrived around 6 p.m., the man had barricaded himself in the home, resulting in a standoff with police that lasted several hours.

The man was killed in "an exchange of gunfire" with a police officer, according to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Police said the couple — an educational assistant and an electrician who were engaged —  had been shot as they were "fleeing the residence."

"They are truly innocent victims... this is a very tragic incident," Det. Sgt. Steve Bereziuk told reporters Sunday morning.

Ward 10 councillor Jeff Beattie called the scene "pretty horrifying."

"This is a really quiet part of town, not a lot happens here and for three lives to be tragically lost, it's unbelievable," he told CBC News Sunday afternoon.

Suspect barricaded himself inside home

Police said they were called to the residence at 322 Jones Rd., north of Barton Street in Stoney Creek, after reports of a shooting. They learned a 57-year-old man they say was the landlord had barricaded himself inside the house with several firearms registered to him.

"We spent considerable time last night on the phone in attempts to negotiate a peaceful resolution with the male suspect," Bereziuk said.

The SIU said around 10 p.m., there was "an exchange of gunfire between the man and a police officer" and "the man was struck and pronounced deceased."

It said a team of 10 investigators have been assigned to the case and could be seen on site Sunday.

The SIU investigates the conduct of police officers when they shoot at someone, as well as incidents involving police that result in death or serious injury.

Police said families of both victims have been notified but that the victims's names would not be released at this time.

Dispute over 'state of the home'

The families "are extremely upset. As you can well imagine, these are not people that this should happen to. They're not involved in any level of criminality or lifestyle that may lead to an incident like this," Bereziuk said.

He said police continue to investigate what happened exactly before the shooting.

"The early indication on that is it sounds like there was some type of dispute regarding the state of the home. The specifics I don't think I'll get into at this point in time." Police said it did not involve "a missed rental payment."

Aura Carreño Rosa/CBC
Aura Carreño Rosa/CBC

Sandra Chaisson, a neighbour who lives two houses down from where the shootings took place, told CBC Hamilton the whole experience was "really scary."

She said she had just finished dinner Saturday when she "heard the first sirens." Chaisson said she saw ambulances, police cars and officers arrive with guns and dogs.

"Then two tactical units came ... and got their [equipment on]. That was pretty startling to see," she said.

Aura Carreño Rosas/CBC
Aura Carreño Rosas/CBC

Chaisson said police then asked neighbours to stay inside the house and away from the windows. "Around 10 or 11 [p.m.] we heard gunshots. That was very scary," said Chaisson. She said around five minutes later, police called her and her husband, telling them to go down to their basement. They later called again at around 12:40 a.m. to tell them they could come up.

"It was a scary night," she said. "When I did finally go to bed, I couldn't sleep."

Chaisson said she's been living in the neighbourhood for almost her whole life and nothing like this has ever happened. She said the landlord of the home in question was "a very quiet man" and appeared to also live at the home with his girlfriend.

"I'm shocked by what happened," she said.

'This hits home': councillor

Beattie, the local councillor, said he first heard of the events from community members sending him news articles.

"This hits home. It makes a big impact," he said, adding that he knows people in the neighbourhood.


Beattie shared his condolences with the families of the victims and thanked police for their efforts.

He added he could not share any further details about what happened because of the SIU investigation, but would support the community.

"I'm gonna take some time just to knock on a few doors and check in with local residents," he said.

"We're a close-knit community. We look out for each other ... This is what we do as a community. We come together, we support each other and we'll get through this."