Three Iqaluit children now safe, man, 34, faces multiple charges

Standoff ends after 12 hours of crisis negotiations

A standoff that continued all day Dec. 19 on Nipisa St. in Iqaluit ended with the arrest of a 34-year-old man. Three young children are now in the custody of the Department of Child and Family Services. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

By Nunatsiaq News

(UPDATED: Dec. 20, 1:15 p.m.)

A 34-year-old man faces multiple charges and three young children are now in the custody of the Department of Child and Family Services, following 12 hours of crisis negotiations yesterday during a standoff incident in lower Iqaluit.

“We would like to thank the residents of Iqaluit for their patience while we worked through this event. We are pleased that the incident came to a peaceful resolution and no one was harmed,” RCMP Inspector Mark Crowther, the incident commander, said today in a news release.

The man, who police did not name, is charged with forcible confinement, assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions, police said. He was to appear this afternoon at the Nunavut Court of Justice

The man had barricaded himself inside the housing unit, with the three young children, and refused to cooperate with police, the RCMP said.

“Alcohol was a contributing factor in this event,” police said.

At the start of the incident yesterday morning, Nunavut RCMP members set up roadblocks to cordon off a section of Nipisa St. close to the 300s area of Iqaluit, “to provide a safe working space for emergency vehicles.”

Police said all day they hoped to resolve the standoff peacefully and for many hours attempted to conduct negotiations with the man.

That meant Iqaluit residents had to avoid an area between houses 135 and 141 on Nipisa St.

“These incidents take time to have a peaceful resolution,” Sgt. Danielle Pollock said yesterday.

Some people in nearby houses were evacuated as a precaution. They were able to go home after 7:40 p.m. last evening, police said.

Police officers and an ambulance stand by during a standoff on the morning of Dec. 19 in Iqaluit. A 34-year-old man faces multiple charges and three young children who were barricaded in a house with him are now safe. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

The RCMP alerted schools about the road closure and warned the public to stay away from the area. Yesterday was the last day of school in Iqaluit before the holiday break.

An ambulance and municipal enforcement vehicles stood by and armed police, some dressed in camouflage gear, were observing the situation from nearby positions.

Part of the area of lower Iqaluit that police had blocked off on the morning of Dec. 19 in Iqaluit. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

The blocked-off area was quiet all day yesterday and, except for police and other first responders, nearly deserted.

Nipisa St. runs the length of the lower Iqaluit neighbourhood in a long horseshoe, stretching from Queen Elizabeth Way and curving past the old graveyard, just east of the city centre.

The street encompasses many buildings numbered in the 100s, 200s and 300s.

With files from Beth Brown.

(More to follow)

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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by enough on

    Too many standoffs, too many drunken fools with guns. Too many honest hunters naively leaving their rifles unlocked.

    I’m sick and tired of this. This shouldn’t be normal. RCMP officers have guns yet you never hear about them getting sad and drunk and threatening to kill people.

    It’s time to put an end to this madness. Hunters say it’s their right to have them, but this is ridiculous.

    Solution: since people can’t be trusted to take care of their firearms, the HTOs should hold everyone’s guns in a secure location. If you’re going out hunting or need to maintain it, go pick it up and return it. If you’re not hunting, you don’t need your gun. HTOs need to held accountable for their community’s reckless hunters. This has gone on long enough!

    • Posted by Bob on

      What a short sighted idea. These desperate people are such a minor part of the population and to have All hunters restricted with their property is ridiculous. You cant punish the majority because of the actions of a few desperate idiots. Might as well have all people sign out their car keys because we have drunk drivers.

      • Posted by enough on

        I’d agree with you if the problem wasn’t so widespread and normalized.

        Number of guns in the territory ÷ by the number of incidences = a substantial minority

        Going to the HTO to get your gun is not a huge task. Our communities are failing to provide safe environments. Slightly inconveniencing hunters should be the least of everyone’s worries.

        If the HTOs don’t take action, then someone else with more power will. And I guarantee hunters will like that even less.

        • Posted by Well… on

          I suppose it wouldn’t be THAT much of an inconvenience if hunters only hunted during regular business hours.

    • Posted by bad idea on

      I like that you’re suggesting solutions, but I would suggest that you sit down and really think about what you’re suggesting.
      How do you know this person is armed with a gun? maybe he has a knife, should we ask the hto to hold all hunting knives too? do you believe that this problem would be solved without immediate access to a gun, even if, in an impossible alternate dimension, this idea was enforced and adopted by community members?
      Please think about this a little longer.

    • Posted by Peter on

      The bigger problem is why this is happening, there is a huge social problem, culture identity and past trauma, residential school generational trauma.
      With little to no mental health in the north, the communities try their best to handle these situations but this will continue to happen with the status quo in place with the GN and Federal Government towards mental health services or lack there of.

      The bigger picture needs to be addressed.

  2. Posted by Madness on

    @Enough. Obviously you have never been hunting. (If i’m wrong? Then you’ve gone mad.) Tell me why would I want anyone else looking after my rifles?

  3. Posted by sickening on

    Sickens me that 3 children were involved. Their lives are affected forever all because an adult decided to be a fool and hurt everyone around him.

    This community needs to find its soul.

  4. Posted by Peeping Thomas on

    Thomas Rohner. Your thoughts on this excellent work this evening ? Whom was abused today ? Whom will you you lambaste tomorrow ?

  5. Posted by Thankful on

    I’m so thankful for the actions of the RCMP. The school plan and everything else. My daughters are safe tonight. So much to deal with and Christmas just ahead. I’m just thankful.

  6. Posted by Really on

    Job well done, in that no one, so far as we know, got hurt.

    Still, what is the purpose of officers wearing camo? Is it so they will stand out against the snow? Is it to let the suspect know they are there? Surely they are not getting ready to invade Iraq.

    There is such a thing as Arctic camouflage. Every Inuk hunter knows what it is. Our cousins in Finland used it in 1940 when their ski troops defeated invading Soviet tanks.

  7. Posted by terrible on

    I really feel for the kids, and I feel for their father. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time of year. I hope the children will at least be returned to relatives before Christmas, and I hope their father will get the help he needs. Thanks to the RCMP and everyone else involved who helped to keep everyone safe.

  8. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    Lock away your rifles in your rifle boxes, make use of trigger locks, remove & lock your rifle bolts in a separate place.

  9. Posted by Northener on

    I live in iqaluit and don’t feel comfortable owning guns in my small appartment. I wish their was some sort of set up with the r.c.m.p that we could store our riffles with them and check them in and out at the station when hunting. It would lower the risk of guns falling in the wrong hands and be much safer all around.

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