Iqaluit shooter in custody after standoff, police say

The RCMP received a call about a man brandishing knives on December 22. Police say when the family fled the home, the man took up arms.

25-year-old in custody, facing numerous firearm charges

An RCMP vehicle in the 500 block area on December 23, 2018. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

A 25-year-old man is in custody and facing numerous firearm charges after police were called on December 22, RCMP said in a press release. The RCMP received a call about a man who was brandishing knives in a residence in the 500 block in Iqaluit. 

A family fled from the home, and then a 25-year-old opened fire on police vehicles and passing vehicles, according to the release. The RCMP does not have an exact number of shots fired, but said there were "numerous" shots, according to RCMP media relations officer Danielle Pollock. 

The RCMP Critical Incident team was called and the neighbouring homes were evacuated. 

Police say the shooter damaged public and police property during the three hour stand-off.

An RCMP vehicle seen in the 500 block area. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

No members of the public or RCMP officers were injured, said Pollock. She said the shooter was injured, but would not say whether he was shot. He has been taken to the hospital, where he remains with non-life threatening injuries. Because the man was injured, the investigation is expected to be taken over by the Ottawa Police Service. 

Pollock said the area will remain cordoned off for some time as the investigation continues. 

"Alcohol was a contributing factor in this event," RCMP said in the release. "The RCMP would like to remind the public that alcohol and firearms don't mix!"

The RCMP said, "This event was preventable." Residents can pick up a free trigger lock at any Nunavut RCMP detachment. 

There are two RCMP vehicles in the 500 block area of Iqaluit.

Like a 'small firecracker'

Bert Rose, a 40-year resident of Iqaluit, said around 10 p.m. that night he received an email from his daughter in Ottawa asking if they were okay. His daughter told him that she had heard there was a lockdown going on in the community. 

Rose looked out the window and saw a few police cars. He said at 10:15 p.m. he heard three or four gunshots, and a few more about half an hour later.

Then at about 1 a.m. he heard additional shots. "It was like somebody had set off a small firecracker outside the house."

"We didn't have any direct impact, but the police have blocked off the street close to our home," said Rose. "It just seemed like a normal, ugly stormy night, but really had no impact on us."

This marks the second standoff with police in Iqaluit in a week. On Wednesday, police had asked the public to avoid the area between 135 and 141 Nipisa St., as they dealt with a person barricaded inside a home in the area

An RCMP vehicle seen in the 500 block area of Iqaluit. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

With files from Katie Toth