'We're all fairly alarmed': North Battleford mayor reacts to weekend shooting death

North Battleford, is no stranger to crime, but Mayor Ryan Bater said this past weekend's shooting death isn't something the city of 14,000 is used to.

RCMP say the incident is isolated and there is no need for panic

Ryan Bater, mayor of North Battleford, said Maclean's recent list of Canada's most dangerous cities could distract from the positive aspects of North Battleford. (Bridget Yard/CBC News)

North Battleford Mayor Ryan Bater said this past weekend's shooting death isn't something the city of 14,000 is used to.

Brydon Whitstone, a First Nations man from Onion Lake Cree Nation  succumbed to injuries resulting from shots fired by Battlefords RCMP on Saturday evening.

The 22-year-old allegedly rammed a police vehicle after a brief pursuit. Police say Whitstone's actions triggered gunshots from RCMP.

RCMP say 22-year-old Brydon Bryce Whitstone was shot and killed by police in North Battleford. (Supplied)
 "We're all fairly alarmed. We're not used to this kind of activity here," said Bater, noting most violent crime is typically domestic in nature.

"Because so much is unknown, because there is an investigation happening, I think it's just difficult to understand," he said, reminding residents RCMP stated there is no risk to public safety as the incident was isolated.

The Regina Police Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding Whitstone's death, as per RCMP policy. Additionally, ​Saskatchewan's Ministry of Justice will oversee the investigation by appointing an independent observer.

The scene on 15th Avenue and 105 Street on Sunday morning. (David Hutton/CBC News)

Extra safety measures

Over the past couple of years, the city of North Battleford has ranked among the highest in Canada in crime severity rating, according to Statistics Canada.

The city has taken action in response to crime by launching the Community Safety Officer program, according to Jim Puffalt, city manager. 
Jim Puffalt, North Battleford city manager, says the municipality is focusing on neighbourhood watch programs as part of its crime reduction strategy. (Bridget Yard/CBC News)

The program's municipal employee patrollers have been granted permission to deal with lower-level and low-risk offenses to alleviate burden from RCMP officers.

"Again, the goal is to allow the RCMP to focus on more serious crimes which is what they're trained for and better suited," said Puffalt.

With files from Bridget Yard