SWAT team ends armed stand-off
“The officers decided to run in the other direction”
The Hudson Bay community of Inukjuak was shaken by a potentially explosive stand-off last week between police and an armed and intoxicated man.
The incident ended hours later, with no loss of life, but many remain worried about the increasing incidents of armed violence in Nunavik.
On Thursday, Feb. 17, around 7:30 in the evening, the local Kativik Regional Police Force received a call about a domestic dispute and two constables went to the scene, said Lt. George Okpik, spokesperson for the KRPF.
“Upon arrival, a man opens the door, and he has a gun in his hand,” Okpik said. “He was loading it. The officers reacted quickly and decided to run in the other direction.”
The constables went to another unit in the fourplex, where there were 13 people, mostly children.
“They [the constables] were told to stay put, and have everybody head-counted and put in a secure spot in the apartment,” Okpik said.
The armed man was in another unit where there were two children and another adult.
After an hour, police determined it was safe for those inside to leave the other apartment where the constables had sought refuge.
“The officers made a post across the street,” Okpik said. “Around this time, three or four shots were fired and the police truck was also fired on.”
A decision was made by the KRPF in Kuujjuaq to call in a Sûreté du Québec SWAT team that would arrive the following morning. Additional police in nearby communities were also mobilized to assist.
A team of 24 arrived the next morning in Inukjuak, landing at the airport by stealth.
“They had to arrive carefully, because the man had said [to police] that he would shoot down the plane or would shoot at people,” Okpik said.
Around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the SWAT team moved in and subdued the man who had been in the apartment.
Police learned later that there had been three guns on the premises – a .303-calibre rifle, a 22-calibre rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun.
“Fortunately, everybody was okay,” Okpik said.
An Inukjuak man faces five charges in connection with the incident. Although taken into custody, the man was expected to be released back into the community.