Man charged in Chinatown homicides dropped off in Edmonton by RCMP days before killings: EPS

The Edmonton Police Service says the man accused of murdering two men in Chinatown last month was brought to Edmonton by RCMP, even though court conditions prohibited him from being in the city.

“On Sunday, May 15, 2022, EPS was notified that a male subject with conditions not to be in Edmonton was being transported into Edmonton by the RCMP. The subject was not identified at the time of this call,” EPS spokesperson Landis Reichle told CTV News Edmonton in a written statement.

“We understand the subject was dropped off in west Edmonton by a member of the RCMP. A message was sent by the RCMP to the EPS identifying the subject as Justin Bone after he was dropped off.”

Reichle said EPS members spoke to Bone that day after receiving a call from a complainant, but after it was determined no crime had been committed, they had no grounds to detain him.

“He was advised to abide by the balance of his ordered conditions, and to discuss any changes with his probation officer.”

Three days later, Bone was arrested in connection with the deaths of Ban Phuc Hoang, 61, and Hung Trang, 64.

The two men were beaten to death in separate attacks in Chinatown on May 18.

Bone was taken into custody near Albert’s Autobody at 106 Avenue and 98 Avenue after he was followed by a private security guard following the beating of Trang.

Bone, 36, was charged with second-degree murder in both deaths, as well as robbery and failing to comply with a release order.

He is scheduled to appear in court on June 17 at 9 a.m. in connection with the charges.

He has a lengthy criminal history, and has been charged and sentenced multiple times for failing to comply with court orders.

CTV News has reached out to the RCMP for comment.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY PLAN

The killing of the two men came days before Justice Minister Tyler Shandro invoked the Police Act on May 26 and ordered Edmonton to create a public safety plan. Sohi delivered the plan to the province on Thursday, along with a promise to make Chinatown safer.

On May 30, he noted that he was looking for cooperation from the province and the federal government to make sure people weren’t released from medical or correctional facilities without somewhere to go.

“This is something that we will have to work with both the provincial and federal government,” Sohi said. “The reality is, when people are released from prison, yes, they’ve done their time, but there’s got to be a transition in place so they don’t end up on the street.”

 

OFFICIAL REACTION

On Friday, Sohi responded to the news that Bone had been brought to Edmonton by RCMP by way of a written statement.

“It is clear that the justice system and policing in Alberta failed our two community members: Hung Trang and Ban Phuc Hoang and their families. If the system worked, these two Edmontonians would be alive today and my heart goes out to the families,” he said.

Sohi said Bone was supposed to attend an Edmonton treatment facility after he was released from Edmonton Remand Centre, but there were no spots available.

Sohi did not say where the man was supposed to live while he waited for a spot at the treatment facility.

“This speaks to a disturbing lack of coordination in the system that must be addressed.” Sohi wrote on Friday.

“The RCMP released this individual into a system that they knew was already over capacity, and they left him there. That is not right.”

A spokesperson for Alberta’s solicitor general said RCMP did not do anything criminal by bringing Bone to Edmonton.

“The RCMP contacted the director of law enforcement about this matter on June 7, on the basis that it may be subject to reporting requirements under Sec. 46.1 of the Police Act. Sec. 46.1 requires police services to inform the ministry of incidents involving death or serious injury that may have resulted from the actions of police, as well as serious and sensitive allegations against the police,” Katherine Thompson said in a written release.

“Investigations are conducted under Sec. 46.1 to determine whether the actions of police constituted a criminal offence and whether there are reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges. In this case, the director of law enforcement determined that the matter did not involve allegations of criminal wrongdoing against the police and therefore didn’t fall under the scope of Sec. 46.1. Under Alberta’s policing legislation, non-criminal investigations and reviews of officer conduct are carried out by the originating police service.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson and Sean Amato.

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