Nunavut RCMP lay charges in Kimmirut shooting fracas

Joe Utye, 20, faces six Criminal Code allegations


Joe Utye, 20, of Kimmirut, faces six criminal charges following a shooting incident July 28 in which a man fired multiple rounds into the community’s RCMP detachment, police said July 30.

Utye, whose date of birth is given as Aug. 20, 1981 in an RCMP news release, but whose age is given as 20, faces the following allegations:

• one count of carrying a .303 rifle for a purpose contrary to the public peace;

• one count of intentional discharge of a firearm; and

• four counts of uttering threats to cause death.

The charges were sworn July 30.

Early in the morning of July 28, 10 Kimmirut residents effected the citizen’s arrest of a man alleged to have been firing shots at the community’s RCMP building.

Inside the building, Cpl. Wendy Cornell and Cst. Allan Jagoe, took shelter with a young woman who had banged on the door of an RCMP staff house to warn them their lives were in danger.

The rifle rounds did “considerable damage” to the building, a police vehicle, and Northwestel telephone equipment, which knocked out phone service to much of the community, Supt. Hilton Smee, second in command at the Nunavut RCMP’s “V” division, said July 28.

“I want to stress that the deliberate ‘hunting’ of our members, shooting their residences and ultimately risking the safety of residents is deeply disturbing,” Smee said.

Smee said the commanding officer of “V” division, Chief-Supt. Steve McVarnock, will meet the Kimmirut’s mayor, hamlet council and elders.

“Our goal is to work with the Government of Nunavut as well as this community to discuss this issue, to search for collective solutions in order to better position the future safe delivery of policing services in Kimmirut,” McVarnock said.

In 2007, a man in Kimmirut killed Cst. Douglas Scott, a crime for which Pingoatuk Kolola, 37, of Kimmirut was convicted of first degree murder in 2010.

And this past March, a man in Kimmirut fired multiple rounds at two RCMP staff houses. Four bullets entered one unit, while five bullets entered another, endangering the lives of two families, including a young child.

“This situation could have easily turned into another devastating tragedy. While the efforts of the residents were critical and greatly appreciated, I am extremely concerned with this matter, including the increasing number of violent incidents targeting our police officers in this small community since 2006,” McVarnock said.

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