Iqaluit man guilty of firearms offences in police standoff
Jerry Issuqangituq not guilty of attempted murder after firing at least 21 shots at RCMP officers
Updated Nov. 30, 2022, at 10:45 a.m. ET.
An Iqaluit man has been found guilty on five charges related to a three-hour standoff with police in 2018.
Officers were called to a house in the Happy Valley neighbourhood in Iqaluit on Dec. 22, 2018, after neighbours reported Jerry Issuqangituq was brandishing knives there.
Following a three-hour standoff where RCMP allege he fired a gun at the officers, Issuqangituq was charged with five counts of attempted murder, five counts of discharging a firearm with intent, one count of reckless discharging of a firearm, and one count of careless use of a firearm.
In her verdict Tuesday, Judge Susan Cooper found Issuqangituq guilty on three counts of discharging a firearm with intent, one count of reckless discharging of a firearm and one count careless use of a firearm.
He was found not guilty on the other charges.
Cooper is scheduled to set a date for Issuqangituq’s sentencing during a court appearance on Jan. 9.
Crown lawyer Greg Lyndon is seeking a sentence of seven to nine years, which includes the four years Issuqangituq has already spent in custody.
Defence lawyer Lauren Shadley has asked for a sentence of four to six years, including the time Issuqangituq has already spent in custody.
Issuqangituq also spoke in court Tuesday. He apologized to the officers, describing how he had been experiencing suicidal thoughts and had suffered through addiction, but said he hopes for a better future for himself.
RCMP estimated between 50 and 150 shots were fired during the standoff, 21 of which were confirmed by Cooper based on the evidence. Issuqangituq himself was wounded and ended up in a coma for five months. No police officers were wounded in the incident.
Crown and defence lawyers submitted 14 exhibits for consideration in sentencing, including victim impact statements from the RCMP officers involved, letters of support from Issuqangituq’s family, and a certificate of completion for the Inside-Out Prison education program Issuqangituq has undergone while incarcerated.
With the federal government passing Bill C-5 on Nov. 17, which eliminates mandatory minimums for most drug and some firearms offences, Shadley said the defence is now seeking an appropriate sentence without the four-year minimum sentence in place.
“The baseline of four years no longer exists, and the argument I’m making is that all of the cases we see are four years-plus because I think that has been an inflationary floor because it has to be four years,” Shadley said.
“I’m not suggesting that Jerry be given lower than the mandatory minimum,” she added, “but I do think it is interesting.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated Issuqangituq had been found guilty of two counts: reckless discharge of a firearm and careless use of a firearm. In fact, Issuqangituq was found guilty of five counts: three counts of discharging a firearm with intent, one count of reckless discharging of a firearm and one count of careless use of a firearm. The story has also been updated to clarify that his sentencing will be scheduled on Jan. 9, 2023.
What a joke this verdict is, “reckless discharge of a firearm and careless use of a firearm.” This individual could have been slammed with the other charges. The liberal government removing mandatory sentences on these crimes yet going after the rights of hunters and farmers with the new laws over firearms.
This individual “apologized” to the officers. I’m
Sure that was beyond heartfelt and sincere… I’m sure the 1 program that he completed in his 4 years thus far of being in jail
To be honest this man is lucky to be alive. In most of the world you try and shoot a cop it’s game over. Good job rcmp for sparing this man’s life but he deserves serious time
Shooting 21-150 shots at armed police does not in itself prove there was an intent to murder?
How can Canadian gun laws be so relaxed when it comes to SHOOTING AT THE RCMP while at the same time being so strict on banning all sorts of guns over the past year?
Are firearms dangerous weapons that carry consequences when used illegally or not?
Based on his last name, lets assume the offender is an Inuk. Firearms Act for Aboriginals allows use of dangerous firearms for dangerous offenders because of the “I need it for traditional hunting” excuse. If he were non-indigenous, there is no way this man would be allowed to possess a firearm and there would be a slew of firearms charges as well. He would also likely never be allowed to possess a firearm as well.
Can’t help but feel terrible for any cop that decides to pursue a career in Nunavut. It truly is the wild west of the north.
4 years is not nearly enough in my opinion.
And yes, he is indeed lucky to be alive.