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Iqaluit standoff in Happy Valley neighbourhood enters day 3

Iqaluit RCMP say more shots have been fired since Wednesday evening in an armed standoff in the capital's Happy Valley neighbourhood, and that southern police have flown up to "spell off" local officers.

Neighbourhood remains inaccessible due to police roadblock, Joamie school closed this morning

Iqaluit RCMP say a a number of shots have been fired from a home in the town's Happy Valley neighbourhood, and are asking residents to respect police roadblocks as a standoff enters day 3. (Shaun Malley/CBC)

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Police have expanded a security perimeter in Iqaluit's Happy Valley neighbourhood as an armed standoff enters its third day, calling it a 'volatile situation.'
Police barricade a road in Iqaluit's Happy Valley neighbourhood. RCMP confirmed Thursday morning that they had used flashbang grenades in an armed standoff with a man barricaded in his home. (Tamara Pimental/CBC)

The lockdown prompted a second straight day of closures at the nearby Joamie school, as RCMP crisis negotiators communicate with a man who's been barricaded inside his home since Tuesday afternoon. 

Police responded to a call Tuesday afternoon in the Happy Valley area about a distressed man in a house in the Iqaluit neighbourhood. RCMP say a number of shots have been fired from the residence, and ask that residents continue to follow the roadblock due to the high risk to the general public. 

​Iqaluit RCMP say more shots have been fired since a statement was issued Wednesday night around 6:30 p.m. They also said that mounties have come from the South to "spell off" Iqaluit police as the lockdown moves into day three.  

Constable Malcolm McNeil also confirmed that RCMP have utilized flashbangs, a type of non-lethal hand grenade used to temporarily disorient someone, during the confrontation.

​RCMP and municipal enforcement officers set up roadblocks at the intersections of Atungauyait Drive and Qiyuttaat Lane at around 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 28. Armed police, including an Emergency Response Team, are watching a house in the area and neighbours have been asked to stay inside their homes.​

An emergency shelter was set up Tuesday night at the Arctic Winter Games complex youth centre for residents who couldn't return to their homes. Red Cross representatives told CBC that ten people slept at the shelter last night, up from six on Tuesday.

'In times of need, people come together'

Iqaluit deputy mayor Romeyn Stevenson thanked the community for its co-operation and assistance Thursday morning, singling out Arctic Winter Games complex volunteers, among others.
Iqaluit deputy mayor Romeyn Stevenson says that police are updating the city regularly on the ongoing situation, and thanked community volunteers for pitching in.

"This city has a lot of things that are great about it, but one of them is that in times of need, people come together. They always do," he says. "And this is one of those situations where people are really thankful for that."

As of late yesterday afternoon, according to Stevenson, police have begun escorting people in a safe position out of the barricade. He added that people are being given the option to stay in their homes.

Because of the roadblock, says Stevenson, residents in the affected area are unable to get regular municipal service, so they should conserve water when possible. He said that sewage is being pumped out as best as the city can manage, but not as regularly as usual.

Stevenson says the city is being regularly updated by RCMP on the situation.

"Everyone's putting in a lot of extra hours," he says. "We are being updated by the RCMP about the things that we are supposed to know about, and need to know about, and they are listening to our concerns and the concerns of those inside the perimeter.

School remains closed Thursday morning

On Thursday morning, Sonja Lonsdale, principal of Joamie school, said the school will be closed again this morning. Joamie, which sits on a hill above the house where the incident is unfolding, was closed yesterday.

Lonsdale told CBC she would provide another update at 11:30 a.m. EST.

"I think everyone in the community is hoping for a peaceful outcome," says Hunter Tootoo, who lives in the Happy Valley area. "You know, when something happens like this in a small town, everybody feels it."

"Over the past 26 hours, there have been a number of shots fired from within the residence," said Iqaluit RCMP in a statement released around 6:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. "Negotiations are ongoing in attempts to successfully resolve this situation.

"We understand the strain placed on the residents in Happy Valley and the surrounding area and we appreciate everyone's co-operation."

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