Gang shootout on Manitoba First Nation injures bystander: RCMP
Pinaymootang chief says community is facing a drug-dealing problem
A shootout between rival gangs on a Manitoba First Nation left a bystander injured and six others facing charges say RCMP.
Officers were called just after 7 p.m. on Saturday to Pinaymootang First Nation about shots being fired between two groups. Police said everyone took off, either on foot or in a vehicle, after the gunshots.
Officers located a 37-year-old man who was sent to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He was treated and released and is not believed to have been involved.
He was near one of the residences when he was injured, an RCMP spokesperson said.
A 24-year-old man in possession of a gun was arrested at one home, while the investigation identified five additional suspects.
Four people are in police custody — the 24-year-old man, a 24-year-old woman, a 23-year-old man and an 18-year-old man.
Police continue to search for an 18-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman.
'Dealing with drug issues'
Pinaymootang Chief Garnet Woodhouse said he had no information about gangs in the First Nation, 220 kilometres north of Winnipeg in the province's Interlake Region. But he acknowledged the community is facing a growing drug problem.
"We have a good community. It's a Christian community but we're still dealing with drug issues," he said, adding that steps were being taken to create local laws to combat the problem but COVID-19 caused that to be sidetracked.
Woodhouse wants to get those discussions rolling again as soon as possible.
"We've got to put something in place for the protection of the community," he said. "There's a better way of living than looking up to that evil. Drugs are evil. They bring a lot of pain to families.
"I feel for the families for what happened here on Saturday."
Woodhouse also said improvements need to be made by the RCMP in terms of its communication with the community. No one from the police has contacted him yet about Saturday's violence. He has only been told by community members about what happened.
"It would be nice to hear from them [RCMP] but there's no communication whatsoever," Woodhouse said. "I need to be informed, as a leader, by the local detachment."
RCMP have not yet responded to Woodhouse's comments.