Nunavut RCMP defuse dangerous incident in Gjoa Haven

Gun-toting youth surrenders, now faces 13 criminal charges

The RCMP detachment building in Gjoa Haven. A Gjoa Haven youth faces 13 charges in connection with a firearms incident this past weekend in the western Nunavut community of Gjoa Haven. (FILE PHOTO)


RCMP members in Gjoa Haven defused a potentially dangerous firearms incident this past weekend in the western Nunavut community of roughly 1,400 people.

At about 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 1, members of the Gjoa Haven RCMP detachment heard that a young man was pointing a firearm at people who passed his residence, police said in a news release.

At the time, the police were at the local health centre. There, another person who had been involved in a “physical altercation” with the same youth was receiving treatment.

They learned that children under the age of 10 were in the house with the distraught young man.

When police got there, the youth left the residence, “acknowledged the police and immediately re-entered the dwelling,” the release said.

Within a few minutes the RCMP members de-escalated the situation, though the release offers few details on how they did this.

“The young male complied by exiting the dwelling without issue,” the release said.

Alcohol was a contributing factor and police seized two rifles from the home, police said.

The youth faces 13 Criminal Code charges:

• Three counts of assault with a weapon

• One count of careless use of a firearm

• Three counts of using a firearm in the commission of an offence

• One count of unauthorized possession of a firearm

• One count of pointing a firearm

• One count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose

• Three counts of breach of an undertaking

“Everyone is responsible for keeping children safe,” RCMP Inspector Mark Crowther said in the release.

“As parents and guardians we must educate our youth on the hazards of alcohol and make them aware of firearm safety. This event could have been prevented.”

The Nunavut RCMP also issued a reminder on how the Firearms Act works.

To legally use or borrow non-restricted firearms, you must successfully complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, and pass the tests and obtain a licence.

Anyone aged 12 years or older can take the firearms safety course, and children under the age of 12 may also take the course for education purposes.

For course details, you can contact your local RCMP detachment or the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000.

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