A Canada-wide warrant has officially been issued for a St. Catharines man wanted in connection with the murder of his seven-year-old stepson and the attempted murder of a bank employee.
Speaking to CP24 Monday morning, Niagara Regional Police Const. Phil Gavin said at around 10:25 a.m. Friday, a man entered a Royal Bank of Canada branch on Martindale Road in St. Catharines and stabbed a female employee.
The woman was rushed to hospital, where she remains in stable condition.
At around the same time police were responding to the stabbing at the bank, officers were also called to a home on Queen Street in St. Catharines for a seven-year-old boy who was in medical distress.
The boy, identified as seven-year-old Nathan Dumas, was transported to hospital in critical condition but later died.
Justin Kuijer, a 43-year-old St. Catharines resident, is wanted in connection with both incidents.
In a tweet shortly before 2:30 p.m. Monday, Gavin confirmed that Niagara Regional Police had “received judicial authorization” for a Canada-wide arrest warrant for Kuijer.
The warrant says Kuijer is wanted for second-degree murder in the death of the seven-year-old boy and attempted murder in connection with the stabbing.
We have rec'd judicial authorization for the Canada Wide ARST Warrant for Justin Kuijer for 2nd Degree Murder and Attempted Murder.— PC Phil Gavin (@PCPhilGavin) March 20, 2017
Police have confirmed that Kuijer is the stepfather of the seven-year-old victim and had a professional relationship with the bank employee who was stabbed.
Gavin said the incidents have had a “significant” impact on members of the community.
“The community is supporting us and they are providing us with information. Our law enforcement partners are also being quite supportive,” he said.
He added that members of the community have reached out to the boy’s mother, who is cooperating with the police investigation.
“She is in a grieving process. She has lost her son and that’s a terrible thing. She is certainly supportive and we are doing what we can to protect her with Mr. Kuijer still outstanding,” Gavin said.
“We certainly do have some security concerns that we are trying to cover off as well.”
Gavin told CP24 that no one has seen Kuijer since Friday and that Niagara police "don't know where he is."
Ontario Provincial Police and Canada Border Service Agency have been notified because the suspect is believed to have access to a vehicle.
"He could have crossed into the United States," Gavin said during a news conference on Monday.
He noted that police hope the search for Kuijer will come to a “peaceful resolution.”
Police previously said Kuijer was last seen wearing an orange hoodie under a brown leather coat, dark pants, a black toque, and boots.
Police also said he has a floral decal on the back window of the dark grey Pontiac Montana van he was driving. The decal references the name Ashley Simpson and “Missing Women of Canada," not related to the case.
The suspect van's licence number was BYTE392, police said.
Gavin said Kuijer, who was not previously known to police, is considered to be armed and dangerous.