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Red Wings defenceman Chelios talks about killings at his restaurant

The longtime NHL defenceman, who plays for the Detroit Red Wings, said the deaths on Tuesday of 49-year-old Megan Soroka and 52-year-old Mark Barnard were "senseless ... and there's no explanation."

Chelios was on the phone with Soroka minutes before her death, and she told him she thought she heard a fight and was going to investigate, according to the police report.

A 17-year-old who recently was fired as a bus boy from Cheli's Chili Bar confessed to the killings and said he also took money from a restaurant safe, the report said. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Justin Blackshere of Detroit faces mandatory life in prison without parole if convicted as charged. He was arraigned Wednesday evening, and Magistrate Milicent Sherman ordered him held without bond until a preliminary examination on Jan. 16.

Chelios spoke Thursday at Detroit police headquarters, Chief Ella Bully-Cummings at his side and a phalanx of police brass behind them. His voice quivering, he compared the killings to a death in the family.

"Both Megan and Mark were good employees, but more importantly, they were part of my family," Chelios said. "They were dedicated and hard working, and this whole thing is a tragedy."

Chelios did not play in Detroit's 2-1 win against Anaheim on Tuesday night and was not travelling with the team for its game Thursday night at San Jose. Chelios said he would rejoin the team when the time is right.

"I'm just going to try to get through this day by day with everybody," he said.

A companion restaurant in Dearborn reopened Wednesday, and the Detroit restaurant was reopening Thursday for the first time since the stabbings. A counsellor has met with employees and would be available, Chelios said.

"I know Megan and Mark would want us to do that," he said. "They were proud of what we have built here."


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