By Chantal Da Silva - NBC News
A young Canadian couple who appeared to be about to get married were shot and killed by their landlord over a dispute over rent before the suspect barricaded himself in the home and died in a shootout with police, authorities said.
Deputies were initially called to a home in the Stoney Creek district of Hamilton, Ontario, about 42 miles (67 kilometers) from Toronto, around 5:40 p.m. ET Saturday for reports of shots fired, the Hamilton Police Service said in a news release.
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When they arrived, they found the bodies of a 27-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man who had been fatally shot, police said.
Officers determined that the two had been living in the home as tenants and had been shot by their landlord in a "landlord-tenant dispute," police said.
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"Early indications are that there was some kind of dispute over the state of the house," Sgt. Steve Bereziuk told reporters, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The couple, an educational assistant and an electrician, were engaged, according to the station. Their identities have not yet been made public. Bereziuk said the couple were "truly innocent victims."
The owner, a 57-year-old man, barricaded himself inside the residence with firearms that were registered in his name, Hamilton police said.
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An emergency response unit contained the area as negotiators tried to resolve the incident in what appears to have been an hours-long standoff.
At one point in the negotiations, the suspect fired at an armored police vehicle before firing further shots, which "resulted in an interaction with police," according to authorities.
The Ontario Special Investigations Unit, which investigates the conduct of law enforcement officials involved in serious incidents, said the suspect was fatally shot during an exchange of gunfire with police. He was fatally shot around 10 p.m., just over four hours after officers initially responded to the incident, the unit said in a news release.
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The 57-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the special investigations unit.
The unit said a team of 10 investigators had been assigned to the case.
Police said the families of both victims had been notified of the couple's death.
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The families, Bereziuk said, "are extremely upset."
"As you can well imagine, these are not people this should happen to," Bereziuk said. "They are not involved in any level of criminality or lifestyle that could lead to an incident like this," he added.
"I would like to express my condolences and concern for this weekend's double homicide at Stoney Creek," Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath said in a tweet. "I am deeply saddened to learn of this senseless tragedy and my heart goes out to the families of the victims."