A Canadian landlord gunned down two of his tenants as they fled from their rental home after a dispute over the property, police say.
Police say that on Saturday evening witnesses saw a young couple, both in their mid-20s, flee from the Hamilton, Ontario, home they were renting before being shot dead on the front lawn.
Following the killings the gunman barricaded himself in his apartment above where the couple lived. Police say they negotiated with the 57-year-old man for several hours before an “interaction” occurred, which ended with the cops exchanging gunfire with the man, killing him.
Hamilton Police told local news that the dispute was seemingly over the condition of the home but they’re still looking into the exact motive. Police said that the victims lived in the basement of the home and the landlord lived on the main floor.
“These are the questions, right? How does it escalate so quickly and to such lethal force? That’s something we’re obviously continuing to look into,” Hamilton Police Sgt. Steve Bereziuk told the Toronto Star.
The killer was a gun owner and several handguns and rifles were registered to the home.
The victims, a 27-year-old woman, and a 28-year-old man, were engaged. They have not been named. At a Sunday press conference Hamilton Police Sgt. Steve Bereziuk the couple were the last people you would expect something like this to happen to.
“They’re not involved in any level of criminality or lifestyle that may lead to an incident like this,” Bereziuk said. “They are truly innocent victims, hardworking people, young people. They were engaged to be married. And this is a very tragic incident.“
A recent report indicated that renters in Hamilton are facing the toughest conditions in over twenty years.
The Canadian housing market is one remarkably unfriendly to renters. The prices for renting have been increasing steadily over the years leading some experts to describe the country as being on the verge of a rental crisis.One recent report indicates that over the past year Canada has experienced the “highest annual increase in rent growth on record.” This has led landlords to achieve record profits but routinely forces renters into precarious situations.