NEWS

Police Call Deaths A Double Murder-Suicide

10/16/2013 06:45 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Police have confirmed that two shooting deaths that happened in Conception Bay South last night and a body that was found in a St. John's cemetery this morning are a double murder-suicide.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said around 7 p.m. Tuesday, that police responded to gunshots that were fired at a health clinic in Villa Nova Plaza in C.B.S.

A woman, 35, and a man, 45, were pronounced dead at the scene. The next of kin have been notified, and police said they will not disclose the victims' identities.

The woman was shot inside the clinic, while the man was shot outside, sources have told CBC News. The complex includes retailers and office space for doctors and physiotherapists.

A body that was discovered on Wednesday morning at the Anglican cemetery on Kenmount Road, about 14 kilometres away from where the double homicide took place, was confirmed as being connected to the crime.

The RNC said it doesn't believe there is a public safety concern, since the incident was not a random act. Police said the victims and the accused were known to each other.

Const. Talia Murphy said people living near the site of the shootings can breathe more easily.

"At this point, the level of fear in C.B.S. and the public safety concerns are reduced," she said.

Education officials kept three neighbourhood schools closed Wednesday morning: Topsail Elementary, Villanova Junior High, and Holy Spirit High.

Police patrol home

Police officials had made the unusual move Tuesday night of urging residents in the surrounding area to stay inside and lock their homes. They shut down traffic on the busy road for hours.

The RNC has revealed no details about the description of the suspect.

Earlier Wednesday morning, armed RNC officers were seen patrolling a home on Chaytor's Road in the Chamberlains neighbourhood of Conception Bay South.

The connection to the homicide investigation wasn't immediately clear, although neighbours said police had been at the residence after the shootings.

Police eventually left the scene.

Overnight, they had scoured the area for signs of a suspect.

Manhunt 'huge'

The council meeting at the nearby town hall was interrupted when councillors learned of the killings.

"Cold shivers of course go up your spine ... when you learn a shooting has taken place, not just in your community, but just next door to where we were holding our public council meeting," said Ken McDonald, mayor of the town of about 25,000 southwest of St. John's.

The RNC called in multiple units to investigate the shooting.

"The manhunt was huge. They were looking for the shooter as far down as Topsail," said CBC reporter Amy Stoodley.

Stoodley added that revelations of the shooting and news that the suspect was at large had unnerved many people in Conception Bay South.

"People were pretty panicked," she said, adding that many people were anxious when they encountered police roadblocks and could not immediately join their families on the other side.

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