Mountie charged with first-degree murder

A day after his wife’s body was found in a southeast Edmonton home, an RCMP constable was charged with first-degree murder in her slaying.

Tape surrounds a home at 44 Jefferson Road

Tape surrounds a home at 44 Jefferson Road

EDMONTON — A day after his wife’s body was found in a southeast Edmonton home, an RCMP constable was charged with first-degree murder in her slaying.

Const. Tarith Sehmbi, 36, is expected to appear in court on the charge today, said Clifton Purvis, executive director of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team.

The provincial organization, which investigates major incidents involving police, is leading the homicide investigation.

Purvis declined to make any further comment on the case.

He has said police were called to a home in southeast Edmonton early Saturday morning after neighbours reported hearing what sounded like gunshots.

An RCMP officer was arrested at another location just over an hour later, Purvis said in an interview on Saturday.

Sehmbi will likely be suspended from his job within days as a result of the serious charge against him, said Sgt. Tim Taniguchi, an RCMP spokesman.

“He will be suspended and this process will come very quickly now that charges have been laid,” Taniguchi said in an interview on Sunday.

“The suspension will initially be with pay. That will be pending a review to consider the option of stopping the pay.”

There’s no specific time frame for the review on whether to stop paying the constable’s salary, Taniguchi said.

Sehmbi, who has been with the RCMP for about seven years, was working in the traffic services division at a detachment in Stony Plain, just west of Edmonton. He’d been stationed there for about three years.

The Mountie had been married for over nine years and the couple has two young sons, Taniguchi said.

Purvis has said the couple’s two children weren’t inside the home in the hours leading up to the woman’s death.

Peter Hourihan, the assistant commissioner in charge of criminal operations with the RCMP, has stated the children are being cared for by family members.

During a news conference on Saturday, Hourihan would not comment on whether a police service gun had been used in the incident.

But he confirmed that it’s in keeping with police policy for RCMP members to take their weapon home for the purpose of “operational readiness.”

Neighbours say the home in Edmonton’s Jackson Heights neighbourhood had been put up for sale in recent weeks.

An autopsy will be performed to help determine the cause of the woman’s death.

The provincial investigation agency has not released her name.

Word of the woman’s death had started to filter down in the city’s Sikh community Sunday morning and at the temple where she worshipped.

Many offered their condolences, including those at Gurdwara Mill Woods Temple in the city’s southeast.

“As a community, we will offer whatever help we can to the related families,” Surin Singh Hoongan told CTV Edmonton.

“Our condolences are with the family of the victim.”

Sehmbi used to volunteer for Radio Punjab, a radio station which focuses on South Asian issues and music. He and an Edmonton police officer co-hosted a radio program there, spoken in Punjabi, which offered advice on navigating the Canadian legal system.