Kinngait man sentenced four years for 2018 shooting at recreation office
Harry Josephee, 20, pleaded guilty to multiple charges after the incident
A 20-year-old Kinngait man was sentenced just over four years for a break-and-enter and shooting at the community’s recreation office two years ago.
Harry Josephee had just turned 18 when he broke into the building with another person and stole a rifle and keys to the office, according to a written sentence by Nunavut Court judge Susan Cooper dated Dec. 14.
He returned the rifle after a hamlet employee saw the incident on security camera footage and asked for it back.
Later that day, the hamlet’s recreation director confronted Josephee on the street, noticing he was wearing sneakers stolen from the office.
“He grabbed Harry by the throat and demanded the sneakers. The recreation director was using such force that Harry almost lost consciousness,” wrote Cooper.
“There were other people in the area. A bystander felt compelled to intervene, telling the recreation director to stop. The sneakers were returned, and Harry was left in his stocking feet, on the street.”
Within the hour, Josephee returned to the recreation office with a rifle he’d taken from his uncle’s house. He fired multiple times, and at least two bullets entered the building.
A bullet also hit a hamlet vehicle’s tire.
Josephee complied with the RCMP when they arrived and surrendered his weapon. He was charged with breaking and entering, theft, shooting a firearm intentionally and four counts of breaching court orders.
These were his first offences.
In sentencing, Cooper considered a number of circumstances, including Gladue factors.
Gladue factors are systemic issues that influence criminality in Indigenous populations. Those include intergenerational effects of the residential school system, lack of education, poverty, suicide and substance abuse.
Cooper said Harry’s mother and father both struggled with substance abuse, and left him to be raised by his grandparents when he was very young.
“His grandparents were caring and supportive but were sometimes overwhelmed by their responsibilities,” wrote Cooper.
“The family did not have a lot of resources and were affected by homelessness and food insecurity.”
On top of that, Josephee has lost two of his uncles, who died by suicide. When he was 15, according to Cooper, he discovered the body of an 11-year-old friend who had taken his own life. He lost another friend to suicide in 2016.
Despite these challenges, there is “reason to be hopeful for Harry’s future,” Cooper wrote.
Josephee’s participated in arts programming, and is described by his case worker at Rankin Inlet’s healing facility as a “good inmate who has avoided or de-escalated situations of conflict.”
He works with the grounds crew at the centre and uses some of the money he makes to support his grandmother.
“He is planning for the future,” Cooper wrote. “He would like to become a carpenter and work for the hamlet.”
The judge also considered the fact Josephee pleaded guilty as a mitigating factor in his sentencing.
After receiving credit for time served – with each day in custody counting for 1.5 days – Josephee has just over a year and a half left of his sentence.