Five-year-old shoots three accidentally in central Nunavut town
“Possibility to cause grievous bodily harm or death was extremely high”
Two adults and a youth from the central Nunavut community of Whale Cove continue to recover from injuries they received June 29 from an “accidental discharge” of a high-powered rifle by a five-year-old child.
This latest firearms incident comes a little more than two weeks after a boy, 11, in Arviat was injured after a firearms incident involving a 14-year-old.
Although the RCMP said the injuries of the three in Whale Cove were relatively minor, “the possibility to cause grievous bodily harm or death was extremely high,” a June 30 release form the RCMP said.
The release did not say if the child was related to the three who were injured.
No charges are expected to be laid, the release said.
On June 19 at about 7:30 p.m., members of the Whale Cove RCMP detachment received a call from staff at the local health centre which said they were treating three people for gunshot wounds, the release said.
The officers’ investigation determined that a five-year-old had been able to locate, load, and fire a rifle, which had recently been unloaded after a hunting trip. The discharge produced enough shrapnel to injure three people, the release said.
The RCMP says it wants to remind people to properly store their firearms and ammunition, with trigger and/or cable locks, and secure these in a locked gun cabinet.
The Whale Cove RCMP detachment—along with other detachments in Nunavut—has a large quantity of trigger locks which police will give out free-of-charge to anyone who asks, the release said.
The Government of Nunavut’s justice department recently told Nunatsiaq News that local crime prevention efforts can help curb gun-related violence.
Yvonne Niego, Nunavut’s assistant deputy justice minister and a former RCMP officer, said there is money available for communities who want to fund crime prevention projects.
With respect to firearms, these could include projects such as firearms safety programs, building gun boxes or parenting programs, she said.