An RCMP superintendent says a tiny Baffin Island hamlet is “under siege” after Mounties in the community faced gunfire yet again Saturday.
Police say the latest incident in Kimmirut started in the overnight hours when an intoxicated female banged on the door of an officer’s home, claiming she was in danger.
Another officer was called over and they took her to the detachment, but while they were there, they say a man fired multiple rounds at the detachment and a police truck.
The incident ended when a group of about 10 people made a citizen’s arrest and held the man until an RCMP team from Iqaluit arrived.
It’s not the first time officers in Kimmirut have been fired upon.
In March shots were fired at the homes of two Mounties. And in 2007, 20-year-old RCMP officer Doug Scott was shot and killed after responding to an impaired driving complaint.
“Although these are individual ‘one-off’ actions, it continues to place Kimmirut and its residents under siege,” Superintendent Hilton Smee said in a news release.
There are no reports of injuries from either incident.
In the latest shooting, police say telephone equipment was hit, and that phone service to parts of Kimmirut were knocked out. Crews from Northwestel were working to restore the service on Saturday afternoon.
Police report there was considerable damage to their truck and to the detachment. Charges are pending, they said.
Supt. Smee expressed thanks to the people who stepped forward to stop the man while the two RCMP members and the woman were inside the detachment.
“This was a highly volatile situation. To put their lives at risk for us, there just aren’t enough words to express our sincerest gratitude,” Supt. Smee said in the release.
“All put their lives at risk to assist our police officers.”
Police say one of the members has 36 years of service and the other about 15 years.
Two new members were flown in from Iqaluit to relieve both Kimmirut members, Supt. Smee said, to ensure “their well-being is addressed as well as ongoing protection of the community.”
RCMP said in their news release that they understand that there are high risks in protecting the lives and the communities where they serve, but they said “no one person, child, or community should be subjected to this type of violence.”
On March 18, two RCMP members posted in Kimmirut were shot at and targeted at their respective homes while they and their families were sleeping.
Four bullets entered one member’s residence while five entered the other.
An RCMP emergency response team was dispatched from Iqaluit and a man was arrested following a tip from a community member.
Police say they seized a loaded .22 calibre rifle and say alcohol was a factor.
RCMP said Saturday that both recent incidents draw attention to the issue of increased measures to regulate alcohol distribution and consumption in Nunavut. Kimmirut had previously been dry, but the alcohol ban was overturned in a plebiscite in February, with conditions established on who can buy alcohol and bring it into the community.
Police say it also highlights the need to ensure the safe handling and storage of firearms.