Security company dealing with events surrounding City Hall shooting

Upcoming Edmonton city council meetings have been cancelled following the shooting.

The company of both the City Hall shooting suspect, and the unarmed security guard who took him down, is still grappling with the turn of events earlier this week.

The CEO of Commissionaires — the company that provides security to City Hall — says it’s been a difficult time since the shooting in the government building earlier this week. 

Suspected gunman Bezhani Sarvar worked as a security guard for the company, but not at City Hall. He is currently in custody facing six charges in relation to the shooting.

“There were no indications, there were no signs, and so people are shocked by this,” explained Nick Grimshaw, CEO of Commissionaires Northern Alberta Division.

“We were really, really surprised and shocked by this, and by his actions. And so a lot of questions are being asked, as you can imagine, and a lot of people trying to rationalize this. And so it’s been a difficult time for sure. But again, we are fortunate it wasn’t worse.”

Edmonton police say Sarvar entered City Hall through the underground parkade, fired his gun multiple times, and threw a Molotov cocktail inside the building. That’s when an unarmed security guard, also employed by the same company detained the gunman.

“He’s just a humbled individual who is not looking for praise or accolades, and just wants to go about doing his business. And when I spoke to him the other day he said ‘sir, I’m just doing my job’ and I assured him that he went above and beyond his job, and thanked him for his tremendous and professional actions,” said Grimshaw.

The unarmed Commissionaire who took down the gunman has not been publicly identified. Grimshaw says he was previously a military veteran and says he has returned to work.

“He’s a seven-year veteran in the military, he was in the infantry as a soldier, and has been with the Commissionaires for about a year now.”

No one was physically injured in the shooting, but those inside City Hall at the time are dealing with the emotional scars, and that includes young students who were taking a tour.

Regarding that Grade 1 class that was in City Hall at the time of the shooting, Edmonton Public Schools tells CityNews support services are available to staff and students impacted by the incident.

“The Division’s Critical Incident Support Services (CISS) team is available to provide support to staff and students. The team is a group of trained social workers and psychologists who support schools after incidents that affect the school community,” said Edmonton Public Schools in a statement.

City Hall still remains closed as restoration work continues, and council meetings scheduled for next week are cancelled in response to the incident but will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

In a statement from the City Manager, he says “We recognize that the recent event was distressing and frightening for those present in City Hall, and we will ensure appropriate arrangements are in place for people to return safely.”

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