Michelle Shegelski met the man she would eventually marry four years ago while they both worked at the same security company.
Just two months ago, they were wed in a beautiful ceremony in Edmonton. But Victor Shegelski’s life as a newlywed has been shattered after his wife was among three people killed in an armoured car melee at the University of Alberta. A fourth guard was wounded.
“It’s especially tragic,” said Roy Shegelski, Ms. Shegelski’s father-in-law, his voice breaking. “They had just started a life together.”
“She was a lovely person,” he added. “You wonder why things like this happen to good people. People just starting out in life, and who had the joy of living.”
Ms. Shegelski had worked for GS4 Canada since about 2008. She was training new employees on an overnight money drop to the university campus ATMs when her crew was attacked. Police believe the perpetrator was co-worker Travis Baumgartner. Also killed were Brian Ilesic and Eddie Rejano, who had each been on the job for only a few months.
A fourth employee, Matthew Schuman, another rookie with just a couple of months experience, was taken to hospital in critical condition. He is a military firefighter, a corporal in the military base at CFB Edmonton.
"My deepest sympathies go out to the family of Corporal Matthew Schuman who was critically injured today during an early morning shooting incident at the University of Alberta," CFB Edmonton base commander Lieutenant-Colonel John Reiffenstein said in a statement.
"Our thoughts and prayers are also with the families of the other three victims who did not survive the vicious attack."
Mr. Ilesic’s family in St. Albert was too shaken to provide details about him to the public. But a relative said more information would be released later.
“Our prayers [go] out to the families that were affected by the tragedy,” the family member said.
Now, Ms. Shegelski’s in-laws are preparing to fly to Edmonton from Manitoba to be by their son’s side.
“He’s devastated,” Mr. Shegelski said.
He described his daughter-in-law as someone who was fun-loving, had joie-de-vivre but also took her security job seriously, and was aware of the dangers that accompanied her career. Her Facebook profile shows a young woman who loved the mountains, skiing, was training for a triathlon and had a wonderful sense of humour. Her most recent status update, posted last week, said: “Forget inner peace, I just want to find a square of yoga mat that isn’t immediately colonized by dog.”
Mr. Shegelski said the family loved Michelle from the first time his son, a former military officer who served two tours in Afghanistan before turning to the private sector, brought her home.
“We spent more time worrying about him,” Mr. Shegelski added.
Police have told the family little about what happened.
“It’s shocking to see it happen in Canada. You expect it in the United States,” Mr. Shegelski said.