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A Calgary Fire Department vehicle is parked in front of the John Costello Catholic School where police were investigating a domestic homicide early this morning in Calgary, on Jan. 16.Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

A man facing a restraining order and wanted on warrants stabbed a woman to death outside a Calgary elementary school early Tuesday morning, in what police say was a targeted domestic homicide.

The suspect was found dead nearby a few hours later, after an apparent suicide.

Calgary Police Service Duty Inspector Scott Neilson said no children are believed to have witnessed the stabbing, but a number of adult witnesses have spoken to police.

Police are not releasing the name of the victim or her killer or specifics of their relationship beyond that it was “domestic in nature.” At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Insp. Neilson said that is standard practice with domestic incidents.

Insp. Neilson said the suspect had been previously charged with a domestic-related offence, and had been released by the courts with a no-contact order.

“Here we have a situation where people have done everything right,” he said. “They’ve engaged the police. We’ve engaged them with services, support, court support, safety planning and the whole nine yards. And to have something like this happen in front of a school, obviously, is horrible.”

A woman is killed by a current or former intimate partner every six days in Canada, and there have been increasing calls to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic. The Canadian Femicide Observatory counted 23 women killed by their partners in Alberta in 2023, and the province’s rate of police-reported intimate partner violence has been consistently higher than average in recent years.

In October, the province signed onto an agreement with the federal government to address gender-based violence in Alberta, part of a 10-year plan to increase supports, awareness and prevention.

“Women and girls in Alberta should be able to live free from fear or violence,” Tanya Fir, Alberta’s Minister of Arts, Culture and Status of Women, was quoted as saying at the time. “Creating a made-in-Alberta, long-term strategy will support survivors, address the root causes of violence, and create a brighter future for women and girls in Alberta.”

Insp. Neilson said police were called to the John W. Costello Catholic School in the city’s southwest at about 7:40 a.m. in response to reports of an “incident” outside the elementary school. Police arrived to find a woman who appeared to have been stabbed and was critically injured.

He said officers performed life-saving measures, but the woman was declared dead at the scene.

Police initially announced the attack on social media, followed by an alert telling the public to be on the lookout for a white, 2009 Honda CR-V with Alberta licence plates. The school and a nearby preschool were put on lockdown while police searched for the suspect.

Insp. Neilson would not confirm whether the victim was a parent of a child or children at the school.

He said there were active warrants in the systems for the suspect, but wouldn’t say specifically what the warrants were for.

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