Crown to oppose Sundre murder suspect’s release on bail

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

DIDSBURY- The Crown will oppose the release on bail of a man charged with the death of a 19-year-old Sundre man found dead at a McDonald’s restaurant in Sundre early on July 4, prosecutor Alyx Nanji said.

Solaimane Elbettah, 27, appeared via CCTV at Didsbury Provincial Court on July 11. He is being held at the Calgary Remand Center and has not yet applied for bail.

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

Upon arriving at the scene, officers located Josh Burns, 19, of Sundre, deceased. After further searching the immediate area, police found nearby Solaimane Elbettah, 27, from Sundre, and without incident took him into custody.

The Alberta RCMP Major Crimes Branch was later 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 type of weapon – if any – was used by the accused, what the motive might have been and whether investigators obtained CCTV of the incident captured by television in a closed circuit.

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

But after initially being more reserved about the circumstances and only saying the two knew each other, police later confirmed they were both serving staff at the time.

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

Investigators have reason to believe the murder was “planned or deliberate” so they pursued a charge of first-degree murder, she said.

At no time was there any danger to the general public, she said.

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

During his brief appearance at Didsbury Court on July 11, the defendant indicated that he would seek legal representation.

After Elbettah’s appearance, Crown Attorney Nanji said a prosecutor would be assigned to the case and that the Crown would oppose any bail applications the defendant might make.

Elbettah made his first appearance in Canmore Provincial Court on July 6, adjourning the case to July 11 in Didsbury.

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

The case was adjourned to July 25 for election and argument.

Burns had graduated last year in the class of 2021 from Innisfail High School.

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

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

A statement was also released 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 has occurred at our restaurant in Sundre. We are cooperating fully with the RCMP in their investigation. In addition, support services will be provided to all employees of this restaurant. Being given that this is an active investigation, we will make no further comment at this time,” the full statement read.

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