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Engaged couple shot dead in landlord-tenant row days away from moving out: families

A police officer crosses the street at the scene of a homicide investigation in the area of Jones Road and Barton Street in Hamilton, Ont. Sunday, May 28, 2023. The families of two tenants allegedly shot dead by their landlord over the weekend say the engaged couple were just days away from moving out of their Stoney Creek, Ont., apartment and into a new home. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn

Two tenants allegedly shot dead by their landlord over the weekend were just days away from moving out of their Hamilton apartment and into a new home to start "the next chapter of their lives," their families said Thursday.

A written statement released by Hamilton police on behalf of the families of 27-year-old Carissa MacDonald and 28-year-old Aaron Stone said the pair took pride in their home, always paid their bills on time and were planning on getting married this summer.

"Carissa and Aaron were two beautiful souls. They were such family-oriented people who were so full of life and love," the statement read. 

"Both of them had a heart of gold, imagine when you put those two hearts together. What happened to Carissa and Aaron was truly an act of unnecessary violence and they will be dearly missed."

Police allege the pair's 57-year-old landlord, who lived in a unit above the couple, killed them outside the home they shared and then barricaded himself inside. The landlord was later shot dead in an exchange of gunfire with officers, Ontario's police watchdog has said.

Sgt. Steve Bereziuk said the deadly altercation revolved around "the state of the rental unit."

The victims' families said MacDonald and Stone were responsible, law-abiding citizens who enjoyed spending time in nature and would do anything to help anyone who needed it.

MacDonald, an educational assistant, was described as dedicated to her career with a passion for the outdoors. 

"She loved her job, her school family and all of 'her kids' as she called them," the statement said.

Stone, an electrician, was described in the statement as well-respected in his union with much knowledge in his profession.

"He had just finished his five years of education, he passed his exams with flying colours and was planning to write his ticket," the statement said. 

"They were days away from moving into their new home and starting the next chapter of their lives."

The Special Investigations Unit — which is investigating — said five firearms were collected from the landlord's home and will be examined at a forensic lab along with a gun belonging to the officer who shot him. Police previously said several handguns and rifles were registered to the house.

Hamilton police said Thursday detectives continue to interview witnesses, neighbours and 911 callers, and look further in to the backgrounds of those who died.

The force said no further information about the homicides will be released to protect the integrity of SIU's investigation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2023.

Tyler Griffin, The Canadian Press

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