Gjoa Haven man shot by Nunavut RCMP pronounced dead

Man may have been trying to prevent another person from leaving town, police say


A Gjoa Haven man, 21, is reportedly in

A Gjoa Haven man, 21, is reportedly in “critical condition,” after being shot Dec. 19 by a member of the RCMP. (FILE IMAGE)

(Updated, 2 p.m., Dec. 20)

A 21-year-old Gjoa Haven man, shot by police Dec. 19 after reports that he had gone to the airport and was walking around the community with a rifle, has died of his wounds, police said Dec. 20 in an update.

The Ottawa Police Service will now be called in to investigate the incident, police said.

“The RCMP commits to full cooperation with the investigation,” their update said.

In an earlier Dec. 19 release, police said the man, now identified as Charles Qirngnirq, was “believed to be in critical condition” after the shooting and was to have been medevaced south for treatment. But they now say he was pronounced dead at around 6 p.m. mountain time Dec. 19 in Gjoa Haven.

in the update, police said Qirngnirq “may have been in a conflict with another person and was attempting to prevent that person from leaving the community.”

Their update also suggested the man was suicidal.

Police in the western Nunavut community with a population of about 1,400 people, first responded when they received a report at about 1:30 p.m. on Dec 19, describing a man with a rifle at the airport.

While responding to that call, police received another call saying the rifle-toting man was walking around the community.

Two RCMP members tried to de-escalate the situation, asking him to put the firearm down, the RCMP said.

“The individual failed to comply with the directions and considering the risk to the officers and public’s safety, was shot and injured by an officer on the scene,” it said.

Police recovered the firearm and took the man to the local health centre, where he later died.

“These types of calls are notoriously unpredictable and have traditionally been challenging to manage. Events like these are difficult no matter where you are in Canada but are even more difficult in our smaller and tight knit community such as Gjoa Haven. Our thoughts are with all those involved during this difficult time,” the release said.

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