Two tenants, landlord dead following dispute in Stoney Creek, SIU investigating
Published Sunday, May 28, 2023 6:55AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 28, 2023 4:29PM EDT
Two tenants and a landlord are dead after a dispute led to a man barricading himself inside a residence with firearms and an interaction with police in Stoney Creek on Saturday night.
Speaking to the media at the scene on Sunday morning, Det. Sgt. Steve Bereziuk, of Hamilton Police Service's (HPS) Major Crime Unit, said despite spending "considerable time" trying to negotiate a "peaceful resolution," a 57-year-old man, believed to be responsible for the murder of two people, is dead.
Ontario's Special Investigation Unit (SIU), which investigates the conduct of police that resulted in death, serious injury, discharge of a firearm at a person, or allegations of sexual assault, has been called in and has invoked its mandate.
In a May 28 news release, HPS said at about 5:40 p.m. on Saturday they were called to home at 322 Jones Rd. in Stoney Creek. There, officers found two dead people – a 27-year-old female and 28-year-old male – whom they said were both tenants at the residence. CTV News Toronto has learned that the couple lived in the basement of the home.
Police said the families of both victims have been notified, but for now their names are not being released.
Bereziuk said the 27-year-old woman was an educational assistant for the Catholic school board in Brant County, while the 28-year-old man worked as an electrician in Hamilton.
"(They were) both hardworking people, adding to the tragedy of this event," he said, adding none of those involved in this incident were known to police, which makes what happened "a little bit more shocking."
Bereziuk also said that the couple, who was engaged to be married, was seen by witnesses trying to flee the residence. They were killed outside the house, he said.
"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. They're truly innocent," he said.
Bereziuk said the home's 57-year-old landlord had barricaded himself in the residence with "multiple firearms" that were registered to him, including hand guns and long gun rifles.
The incident stemmed from a "disagreement surrounding issues within the house," he added.
Hamilton police said that the force’s Emergency Response Unit contained the area as negotiators communicated with the suspect “in an attempt to peacefully resolve the incident.”
They said at one point during the negotiations, the man fired at their armoured vehicle.
“The suspect later fired additional rounds, which resulted in an interaction with police,” HPS said.
In a tweet posted just before 1 a.m. on Sunday, police said that the situation, which they're calling a “landlord-tenant dispute,” and has been “contained.”
“There is no ongoing risk to public safety. Police will remain in the area for sometime as we continue to investigate. Please continue to avoid the area,” they wrote.
At approximately 10 p.m., there was an exchange of gunfire between the man and a police officer after hours of attempted negotiations, according to a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) release Sunday.
The man was struck and pronounced deceased at the scene. His death is now under investigation by the SIU, Ontario's police watchdog.
More than a dozen investigators and officials have been appointed to the case, the SIU said.
Sandra Chaisson, a resident of more than four decades in the area of the incident, said the landlord bought the house on Jones Road from her grandparents.
Police are not releasing the name of the gunman, but longtime neighbours identified him as Terry Bourassa. They say he lived in the house for more than 20 years.
“He was very quiet. A very quiet man. I didn't see him much, just to wave hello, but I haven't seen him for a long time,” she said.
“The tenants were in the basement, but I didn't know them, just to see them at the mailbox kind of thing,” she said, adding that the incident seemed “out of character.”
Chaisson said she was watching TV a little after 10 p.m. when she heard six to eight rapid shots fired. “It was rather scary,” she said. “It’s a shock to all of us.”
At around 10:30 p.m. last night, Hamilton police asked people in the vicinity of 322 Jones Rd., near Barton Street, to “shelter in their basement as a safety precaution” as a barricaded male had fired shots from the residence.
Community members were advised via social media that the situation was “ongoing” and that police were working towards a “peaceful resolution.”
Hours earlier, police had advised people to stay out of the area and told those living nearby that they must remain in their residence due to an “active situation.”
So far, several witnesses who have been interviewed are being “cooperative,” HPS said.
Investigators are asking any other witnesses or anyone else with information about this incident to contact Det. Robert DiIanni at 905-546-3836, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or http://www.crimestoppershamilton.com.