Armed man shoots at two Nunavut RCMP members’ homes
"This deliberate targeting of our members... is deeply disturbing"
(updated at 5:40 p.m.)
Shortly before 3 a.m. on March 18, the sound of gunfire directed at the walls and windows of their homes awakened two RCMP members in the Kimmirut.
“Four bullets entered one member’s residence while five entered the other. Thankfully no one was injured during this alleged attack,” said Supt. Hilton Smee said in an afternoon news conference at the RCMP detachment in Iqaluit.
The shots woke up an RCMP corporal, his wife and their adult son in one home, and, in the other home, a constable, his wife and a young child, at about 2:40 a.m..
After the shooting, the two RCMP members were able to leave and safely take their families to a safe location, “after learning from a member of the public the identity and whereabouts of the suspected gunman,” Snee said.
All are now out of Kimmirut, Smee said.
“It’s important for us to note that this deliberate targeting of our members, this deliberate shooting at their residences — and ultimately risking the safety of all the residents — is deeply disturbing,” he said.
Smee said the incident is a reminder of the great risks that RCMP members “deal with day to day in protecting the communities we live in and service.”
“The incident also serves as a reminder to everyone of the sacrifices given by our fallen member, Cst. Doug Scott, who was shot and murdered in Kimmirut in 2007,” he said.
Scott, a 20-year old native of Brockville, Ont., died Nov. 5, 2007, after responding to a complaint about an intoxicated man in the south Baffin hamlet of 400.
“In his honour and his memory, it is our ongoing commitment to protect the communities we serve despite the high risk and challenges we face every day,” Smee said.
Members of the RCMP “V” Division’s Emergency Response Team, who arrived from Iqaluit early March 18, have arrested a 22-year-old man in connection with the incident, he said.
That emergency response team and crisis negotiators arrived about 8 a.m. March 18.
“After successful negotiations the suspect agreed to surrender to police. The suspect was subsequently arrested by members of the emergency response team without incident,” Smee said.
Police also found a loaded .22 calibre rifle, but Smee couldn’t confirm whether or not this weapon was involved in the shooting incident.
The man is currently in RCMP custody.
The RCMP will bring him Iqaluit to appear before the Nunavut Court of Justice, Smee said.
But he did not release the man’s identify what charges he may face, saying only that the man does have “a limited history with the police.”
Alcohol is believed to have been “a factor in this incident,” Smee said.
The identities of the two members would be confirmed later, he said.
But Smee confirmed the corporal, who has 22 years of service, has spent the past two years in Kimmirut, and that the constable, who has five years of service, has served in Kimmirut for a year.
The RCMP’s major crime unit for Nunavut, which is based in Iqaluit, 120 kilometres away, plans to continue the investigation in Kimmirut to determine the motive behind the incident, Smee said.
Relief RCMP members have gone to Kimmirut where they will remain until the regular members are “deemed fit” to return to Kimmirut, he said.
The RCMP is also looking at deploying an Inuit member to Kimmirut as “soon as we can.”
And mental health workers will also be in the community to offer support to people in Kimmirut.
Smee said the March 18 incident “is not reflective of the majority of citizens in this community”
Smee also was reluctant to link the incident with the recent vote in Kimmirut to end its status as a “dry” community.
But Smee said that alcohol abuse is a problem throughout Nunavut and an issue for everyone in Nunavut needs to tackle.
It’s concern for RCMP in all Nunavut communities when people have difficulty coping with the use of alcohol and act in ways they regret later, he said.
The key will be treatment and enforcement of alcohol abuse and bootlegging.
“It’s about working together with all the community members to deal with this issue,” Smee said.
Police are asking for any member of the public with information concerning this incident to contact the Kimmirut RCMP detachment at (867) 939-0123.
Members of the public may also call Crime Stoppers at 1(800) 222-8477(TIPS) where they can remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.