CALGARY -- Calling him a "kind, generous, and gentle man," family have identified 56-year-old Christophe Herblin as the victim of a homicide in a southwest Calgary parking lot over the weekend.

"He loved his family, cooking, animals, motorcycles, good friends and wonderful food and wine," family members said in a statement.

"He worked extremely hard to realize his dream of opening his own cafe. That dream was cut short by this senseless tragedy. He was much loved and will be missed always. Our hearts are broken."

Break-in alarm

Herblin had responded to a break-in alarm at his soon-to-be-opened restaurant near the corner of Bow Trail and 37th Street S.W. about 3 a.m. on Saturday. He waited in the parking lot for the building to be secured until about 6 a.m. as a window had been smashed.

That's when, according to police, Herblin was approached by at least three men they believe were attempting to break into a cannabis store attached to his business. He was attacked and suffered fatal injuries but was able to walk to a nearby gas station before collapsing.

"This is obviously a very rare occurrence and this is an extremely tragic and senseless murder in our community," said Sgt. Martin Schiavetta, with the Calgary Police Service.

Multiple break-ins

Calgary police said the cannabis store next to Herblin's business had been the target of two previous break and enters.

Natasha Sawatzky, a friend of Herblin's for more than a decade, said Herblin had to deal with multiple break-ins at the business he never got the chance to open.

"He had been broken into before, that was the fifth time," she said.

Police said Herblin took all the right measures when it comes to notifying the police.

"In this particular event the business owner did everything correct," Schiavetta said.

Police are looking for any information on recent break-ins at cannabis stores in the city.

'A culinary dream'

Herblin was working to launch Croque Saveurs, a French style eatery, which was slated to open in "early 2020" according to its website.

"Growing up in southwest France, Christophe was increasingly captivated by all things food and bread. With time, these interests sent him on a journey towards a culinary dream," reads a profile posted to the website.

"He attended a classic French cooking school in Lille, France and not long after, he journeyed to England to work at a popular London restaurant."

From there, Herblin worked at the prestigious Grand Hotel du Cap d’Antibes on the French Riviera, at La Voile d'Or in Lausanne, in Switzerland and then the Hotel le Royal in Luxembourg.

He went on to work at restaurants in Nova Scotia, Toronto, Vancouver and Hawaii before settling in Calgary.

Herblin was the head chef at Glencoe Golf and Country Club where Sawatzky and Herblin first met in the food and beverage department.

She said it was his dedication to hard work that she will miss most.

"Relentless passion, he’s the kind of person if you tell him you can’t do something, he’ll work ten times as hard to prove you wrong," she said.

Miguel Urrutia worked under Herblin for five years, and said It didn’t matter if you were a dishwasher, sous chef or general manager, Herblin treated everyone with respect.

"I will carry his legacy through, I will pass it along to others as well," Urrutia said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 403-266-1234, the Homicide Tip Line at 403-266-8877 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.