EDMONTON - A former co-worker of the suspect in the murder of three armoured car guards in Edmonton says she and her family are relieved she quit before the killings occurred.
Jayme Stephenson says she trained for the security job with G4S at the same time as 21-year-old Travis Baumgartner, who police allege shot to death three of his fellow guards and seriously injured a fourth.
Stephenson, who lives in Edmonton, says she worked for the company for a short time, but stopped because her children didn't like her working nights.
She says Baumgartner told her when the two were training in April that he wanted the job because he hoped to help support his mother. But she says his behaviour was odd and that his moods could change suddenly. She says once during a meal, he swore, threw down his fork and knife and walked out.
Baumgartner was arrested Saturday by U.S. border officers in Lynden, Wash. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection official said more than $300,000 in cash was found during a search of Baumgartner's pickup truck.
"My family was grateful that I chose to leave. I'm still in a fog. This usually doesn't happen to people I know," Stephenson says.
Police allege Baumgartner was part of a crew of five guards with the security company G4S that were re-loading an ATM machine at a university mall-residence early Friday morning when shots rang out.
Eddie Rejano, Michelle Shegelski and Brian Ilesic all died in the shooting. Matthew Schuman was still listed in critical condition in hospital Saturday.
Stephenson says she knew Rejano and Schuman. She and her children, aged 16, 11, and 7, took roses on Saturday to a makeshift memorial that has been set up near the G4S depot in Edmonton.
She says the training for the job was difficult and there were stressful moments. She and others in the course sometimes joked around with each other to lighten the mood, but she says Baumgartner didn't participate in the ribbing.
She says she and Baumgartner were alone when he told her he wanted to support his mother, who he lives with in Sherwood Park, east of Edmonton.
"He didn't have any emotion whatsoever when he told me this. And I thought that was odd."
But Stephenson says she's still surprised by the accusations against Baumgartner.
She says that when she and her family learned of the tragedy, the thought crossed their minds that it could have been her.
She says before she quit, she asked her children what they wanted her to do. Did they want her to keep the job so they could have the comforts the salary brought, or her be home at night?
"They told me they wanted me to be home," she says, beginning to sob. "I'm still looking for work. It hasn't been easy."