New Brunswick

Shooting victim is a teacher at Riverview High School, school says

The victim of a shooting on Riverview High School property Tuesday was a teacher at the school, the school confirms in a letter posted on its website.

Letter posted to its website says teacher is recovering, Thursday classes will be virtual

Jansen Bryan Baker, 24, was arrested 'without incident' shortly before noon by the Amherst Police Force. (Katie Simmonds/Facebook)

A teacher was the victim of a shooting on Riverview High School property Tuesday, the school says.

In a letter posted on its website Wednesday night and attributed to "RHS staff," the school refers to "an incident" that occurred just after 5 p.m. and resulted in a serious but non-life-threatening injury.

"The victims of this violence are teachers here at Riverview High School," the letter states. 

"Although only one teacher was injured, other teachers were there as it happened or helped respond while waiting for emergency services."

The teacher has since had surgery and is "doing well," the letter states. It does not identify the teachers involved.

Earlier CBC News requests for comment about the victims of the shooting were directed to Anglophone East School District communications director Stephanie Patterson.

"We are not able to confirm the identity of anybody involved," Patterson said in an email.

The incident occurred Tuesday at around 5:15 p.m. outside the school in Riverview, just southeast of Moncton, when a man leaving the school was approached by an unknown man, who demanded that he hand over the bag he was carrying, then pulled out a gun and fired it, according to RCMP. 

The victim, now confirmed to be a Riverview High School teacher, was taken to hospital. The suspect left the scene, and police later said they were seeking Jansen Bryan Baker, 24, in connection with the shooting.

Baker was arrested in Amherst, N.S., late Wednesday morning.

In its letter to school members and families, the school says the teacher is "recovering in the hospital, feeling in good spirits and looking forward to returning to RHS."

It notes that Riverview High School classes will be held virtually Thursday to allow staff to "plan for the support of students when they return" to the school.

The car Baker was driving was also found abandoned in Amherst around 8 a.m. (RCMP)

Witness describes dramatic arrest scene

In an interview with CBC News, a witness to the arrest of the suspect described the dramatic scene in Amherst.

Katie Simmonds and her husband were on their way to get groceries when they heard sirens and saw police cruisers.

Simmonds, a medical first responder with the volunteer fire department, said her first instinct was to follow them.

"It's a small town," so you don't hear sirens very often here, she said. 

Within minutes, they were parked across from a house in the downtown area, and for the next 15 minutes, they watched a dramatic scene unfold as police surrounded the building where Jansen Baker was believed to be hiding.

"There were seven or eight police vehicles with lights on . . . we saw police with assault rifles drawn, handguns drawn," Simmonds said.

There were four men in handcuffs and a woman in handcuffs. 

 

None of them appeared to be Baker.

The handcuffed woman was released, but the four men were led away, and police then surrounded the house.

"They were smashing on a side door, yelling 'RCMP, put your hands up,' " Simmonds said.

By this time, a crowd in about 20 vehicles had gathered to watch the scene.

"Multiple" officers then entered the front door of the house, and "we saw a pane of glass" shatter from the inside of the house.

A few minutes later, a man was escorted out the front door by police, Simmonds said.

The man was wearing a black and white tracksuit and had a crown tattoo on his face, Simmonds said.

She said she immediately recognized him as Baker from the photos RCMP had sent out in earlier alerts saying Jansen was being sought and was a suspect in the Riverview shooting.

Simmonds had praise for the RCMP and the Amherst police, noting that from what she observed, "they handled the situation really well." 

Baker was believed to be driving a black 2020 Hyundai Elantra with black tinted windows. (RCMP)

RCMP provide few details

RCMP have provided few details about the shooting or the victim. They didn't respond to questions or confirm an incident had even occurred until a few hours after the shooting. 

"We believe the man was approached by an individual he did not know in a black Hyundai Elantra who demanded his bag," RCMP spokesperson Hans Ouellette said Wednesday.

"The individual in the car discharged a firearm towards the man." 

Police don't believe the two men knew each other.

Ouellette wouldn't say what type of gun was used in the shooting, although he told Information Morning Moncton it wasn't a BB gun. 

The shooting victim was taken to hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening and remained in hospital Wednesday, RCMP said.

At 12:01 p.m. Wednesday, the RCMP tweeted that Baker was arrested "without incident" in Amherst, where his car was found abandoned earlier in the day.

In a later release, they stated that Baker is being held in custody and will be brought back to New Brunswick, where he will be scheduled to appear in court.

Questions about RCMP alerts  

Shortly after the incident unfolded on Tuesday, Riverview Mayor Ann Seamans said she'd been assured by the RCMP that there was no risk to the public.

In an interview with CBC News, Seamans said RCMP updated her after they responded to a shooting incident and closed off the area around the high school.

"I don't have all the information at this time, other than what I'm hearing is that they have it in control and confident that there's no danger to our citizens," she said Tuesday.

Later Tuesday night, however, RCMP sent out an alert saying they were seeking a "Jansen Bryan Baker," whom they described as armed and dangerous, and advised residents not to approach him if they saw him.

They later sent out another alert adding the area he was believed to be in — the Greater Moncton area — and later another alert connecting Baker to the shooting at Riverview. 

Then on Wednesday, just before 11 a.m., RCMP in Nova Scotia said on Twitter that they'd requested an alert about the search be issued in that province. The alert was sent to Nova Scotians just before 11:30 a.m.

RCMP New Brunswick sent an emergency alert just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, saying the suspect was found.

In an interview with CBC News Wednesday, Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey was asked about the two-hour lag time between the suspect's car being located in downtown Amherst and an alert being sent out to the public.

The alert system has been a fraught topic in Nova Scotia recently.

The RCMP came under scrutiny after last April's mass shooting when they did not request an emergency alert from the Nova Scotia government while the shooter was on the loose.

Furey said Wednesday that it's important to understand the process and sequence of events in this case. 

The first emergency alert was issued around 11:40 p.m. Tuesday and was received by people as far away as Saint John. (Submitted)

He noted that the car was located at 9:30 a.m., and it was 10:41 a.m. when RCMP first tweeted that they were requesting an alert be issued. In Nova Scotia, such a request then has to go through the Emergency Management Office.

The province's Emergency Management Office did not get the approved message and text until 11:35 a.m., and issued the alert seven minutes later, at 11:42 a.m., Furey said.

He said he wants the time period between the preliminary police investigation being conducted – the boots on the ground work that in this case started at 9:30 when the car was located – and an alert being issued to be shortened.

"That remains the challenge," Furey said. 

"The earlier a public alert is issued, the greater opportunity for public safety and detention of the subjects of those public alerts."

Abandoned car had been discovered in Amherst 

Amherst Police Chief Dwayne Pike spoke to CBC News about the force's involvement in the search for and arrest of Baker.

It started, he said, when the black Hyundai Elantra he'd been reportedly driving was spotted parked in the downtown area.

The vehicle appeared suspicious and it appeared to have "been there a while," he said.

Police were unsure at that time whether Baker was still in the area, Pike said. But by noon, police had found Baker at an apartment residence and arrested him, Pike said.

Pike would not divulge whether the suspect knew the residents of the apartment, or whether he had any firearms with him at the time of the arrest, but he did say there did not appear to have been a break-in.

Border between N.B. and N.S. open 

Amherst Mayor David Kogon said the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border is open, and with a New Brunswick licence plate, the suspect would've been able to drive across it without being seen or checked.

"Not a surprise that car could get into Nova Scotia without alerting the authorities," he told CBC News.

Kogon said the suspect brings back memories of the mass shootings across Nova Scotia in April, and he urged people to be cautious.  

"They certainly need to be cautious, that they should be wary before they answer their door and maybe try to stay a little closer to home until this suspect is brought into custody."

Suspect has a history of criminal offences 

Police said Jansen was "believed to be carrying firearms with intent to use them."

Parole Board of Canada records say Baker had served a four-year prison sentence for a series of crimes in April 2016, including a bank robbery.

The documents say he and a co-accused entered a bank in Moncton wearing a mask and pointed a weapon at customers and tellers, demanded money and fled.

He was also convicted of attempted robbery after threatening a taxi driver with a knife and demanding money.

The board imposed conditions such as abstaining from use of drugs and alcohol when he reached the end of his prison sentence in January 2020.

Corrections

  • The spelling of Jansen Bryan Baker's name was spelled incorrectly on different RCMP social media sites and has since been corrected.
    Jan 06, 2021 11:17 AM AT

With files from Shane Magee, Jennifer Sweet and Marie Sutherland

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