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Crown will oppose bail for Sundre murder suspect

RCMP confirm the victim and the accused were on shift at the Sundre McDonald's restaurant at the time of the murder

DIDSBURY - The Crown will be opposing bail for a man accused in death of an 19-year-old Sundre man found deceased in a McDonald's restaurant in Sundre early on July 4, said prosecutor Alyx Nanji.

Solaimane Elbettah, 27, appeared by way of closed circuit TV in Didsbury provincial court on July 11. He is being held in the Calgary Remand Centre and has to yet make a bail application.

Shortly after midnight on Monday, July 4, members of the Sundre RCMP detachment responded to a call about a homicide at the franchise.

Upon arriving at the scene, officers located Josh Burns, 19, of Sundre, deceased. Upon further searching the immediate area, police found nearby Solaimane Elbettah, 27, of Sundre, and without incident placed him under arrest.

The Alberta RCMP Serious Crimes Branch was subsequently called in to assist and took over the investigation, and on July 5, Elbettah was charged with first degree murder.  

However, police have not disclosed what kind of weapon – if any – was used by the accused, nor what the motive might have been and whether investigators have obtained any video surveillance of the incident captured by closed-circuit television.

“I’m not going to discuss the actual investigation,” said Slaney. “It’ll come out in court.”  

But after initially being more reserved about the circumstances and only stating that the two were familiar with one another, police later confirmed they were both staff members on shift at the time.

“They were both employees and working,” the corporal said.

Investigators have reason to believe the killing was “planned or deliberate” so they proceeded to press ahead with a first degree murder charge, she said.

There at no time was any danger posed to the public at large, she said.

The accused was remanded into custody and subsequently charged with first degree murder.

During his brief appearance in Didsbury court on July 11, the accused indicated he will be seeking legal representation.

Following Elbettah’s appearance, Crown prosecutor Nanji said a prosecutor will be assigned to the case and that the Crown will be opposing any bail application the accused may make.

Elbettah made his first court appearance in Canmore provincial court on July 6, putting the matter over to July 11 in Didsbury.

If convicted, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years.   

The matter has been adjourned to July 25 for election and plea.

Burns had graduated just last year among the Class of 2021 at Innisfail High School.

“Although we can’t comment in an official capacity, these are very sad new reports to hear,” said Kurt Sacher, superintendent of schools for the Chinook’s Edge School Division.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, as well as the friends and staff who would have known him at the school.”

A statement was also issued through a spokesperson on behalf of the franchise organization, Chirp Foods Inc., an Alberta-based company and one of Canada's largest McDonald's franchisees.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic situation that occurred at our restaurant in Sundre. We are fully cooperating with the RCMP in their investigation. In addition, support services will be provided to all employees at this restaurant. Given this is an active investigation, we will make no further comments at this time,” reads the full statement.

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