A police officer was killed and another seriously injured after being shot Saturday night while investigating a domestic dispute in the northern Quebec town of town of Kuujjuaq, where a suspect later took his life after barricading himself for several hours inside a house.
Steve Dery, a 27-year-old Kativik Regional Police Force officer originally from Ottawa died in hospital. Another officer, whose identity has yet to be released, was being treated for a gunshot wound and was reported in stable condition.
“Mr. Dery has worked with our police force for about 4 1/2 years. He was appreciated by his fellow officers and the entire community,” said Pierre Bettez, an inspector with the force. “He will be greatly missed.”
Mr. Dery is the first Kativik Regional Police Force officer to be killed while on duty since the law-enforcement agency was created in 1996. The force is made up of 64 police officers spread across a vast territory that includes more than a dozen Inuit villages. About 15 officers are stationed in the town of Kuujjuaq.
The shooting occurred Saturday evening around 9:30 p.m. when the two officers responded to a call by a woman who reported she had been beaten by her spouse. Before the police officers left their vehicle, an unidentified man stepped outside and immediately opened fire on them.
The woman whose identity was not released later managed to escape while the suspect remained locked up inside the house.
The standoff lasted several hours as police set up a perimeter around the house and unsuccessfully attempted to contact the man inside. The Sûreté du Québec wouldn’t say whether more gun shots were heard during the standoff.
The SQ ‘s tactical squad was brought in Sunday from Montreal, a 1,600-kilometre flight to Kuujjuaq. They entered the house around 2:40 p.m. on Sunday and found the body of a man who, according to police, shot himself.
“It appears the man took his own life,” said SQ spokesperson Dan Thibodeau. “Police are currently conducting an investigation to confirm the suicide. His identity has not yet been released.”
The Quebec provincial police were leading the investigation and said it may take several days before they can release any details involving the shooting.
Mayor Tunu Napartuk refused to comment on the tragic event that has shaken the Inuit community of Kuujuaq, a small town of approximately 2,300 residents that serves as the capital for the Nunavut region of Quebec. Mr. Napartuk said he will wait for police to complete their investigation before reacting to the news he said has shaken his community and the town’s small police force.
“Police officers right across the region are deeply affected by this tragedy,” Mr. Bettez said. “Mayor Napartuk was with us for the entire standoff and supported us throughout the ordeal. … It hasn’t been easy for him and for the entire community to deal with something like this.”