Police classify Kimmirut, Nunavut, deaths as murder
Concerns raised after several violent incidents in Nunavut over past month
The RCMP have ruled a weekend incident which left three people dead in Kimmirut, Nunavut, as murder.
A 27-year-old man, a 23-year-old woman and their two-year-old child were found dead in the hamlet on Saturday.
"The investigation is classified as a murder. A firearm was involved. All victims suffered gunshot wounds," said Cpl. Yvonne Niego.
Police said they are waiting for autopsy results from the Nunavut Coroner's Office.
No other suspects are being sought and police say there is no ongoing risk to the community — the RCMP would not confirm it, but it appears to be a case of murder-suicide.
The names of the victims are not being released at the request of the families. The investigation is continuing.
MLA calls for more mental health workers
Police have released few details about the deaths.
The community of just over 400 people is in shock following the deaths. CBC News reached people there, including relatives of the deceased, who say they are upset and numb.
"When we first heard the news it was shocking, what is happening? And now all we can do here is help each other and accept what has happened. It's still so fresh, especially for the parents and their family. It's very sad," said the community's acting mayor, Joe Arlooktoo.
The 23-year-old woman found at the scene was a student at Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit. She was home in Kimmirut for the Easter long weekend.
"She was well-connected, well-loved among her peers, she was an athlete so she travelled to other communities … and a very personable young lady," said Louise Flaherty, acting Dean at the College
The hallways at the college were quiet and empty Tuesday, as students and faculty mourned the loss of a student.
"Students were gathered into one room this morning and both of the counselors were able to provide assistance, and the councilors are still accessible to students and staff," said Flaherty.
The MLA for South Baffin, Fred Schell, said the deaths are a sad reminder of the territory's desperate shortage of social workers.
Schell knew the family, and said it's a terrible tragedy. He said it's clear there is a need for more mental health workers.
"I think it's in every community in Nunavut. I mean, there's people with issues and they really have nowhere to go. Sometimes they need to talk to somebody that's neutral and somebody that's trained and qualified to deal with it," he said.
Concerns about violence in Nunavut
There are concerns about the level of violence in northern communities, as there have been several violent incidents in the past month and in recent years.
"It's a matter of working with the communities and working towards addressing the issues that have come up — the violence and to try and work together and addressing those problems. I mean, people always try and come up with answers but there is no one real defining answer. It's a matter of how individuals and communities work together," said Terry Audla, the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
Government agencies, along with Inuit organizations, are trying to finalize a mental health strategy for the territory.
For now, the small community of Kimmirut is mourning the loss of a family.