Swat teams called in to end Kuujjuarapik stand-off

Cree, Inuit SQ bring incident to peaceful end



Cree and Inuit police forces called in two provincial swat teams to end a lengthy stand-off with an armed man in Kuujjuarapik on Monday.

According to a KRPF press release, the incident began the morning of June 23. Around 7:30 a.m., Cree police received a phone call complaining that an intoxicated man and woman were having an argument in a building in Whapmagoostui.

Officers from the Whapmagoostui Police Force arrived on the scene shortly after only to find the pair walking along the street outside the building, the press release said.

At this point, the man was carrying a rifle but the press release made no mention of the man’s behaviour or at what point the woman and man separated. It also offered no details of how the incident turned into a more than 12-hour standoff with the man barricading himself in a residential building.

A press release issued by Whapmagoostui police late Wednesday, however, stressed the man never posed a threat to the town.

“Throughout the day, the situation was always under police control and the individual was kept under close police surveillance. No shots were fired and no members of the public were ever at risk,” the statement said.

The reason the Cree and Inuit police forces then called on the Surête du Quebec to send up two swat teams, one from Montreal and the other from Rouyn, was not given. But both police organizations confirmed the SQ played a role in bringing about the end of the incident.

Sgt. Ghyslayn Blanchet, of the Rouyn-Noranda SQ force, said about 20 officers from two squads were sent up to the village.

“It was mainly a precautionary measure because the man had a firearm,” Blanchet said.

But other sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they believed the swat teams were also called in because the suspect has a criminal record of violent and erratic behaviour while intoxicated.

One resident said he could only confirm what other locals were saying about the incident.

According to the man, the incident began at a residence near the suspect’s home but by the time the SQ reinforcements arrived he had moved on to a six-apartment building.

“I know somebody was using a weapon and the police surrounded him and they were not successful so they called a swat team that arrived around 4 p.m.,” the resident said.

The man said most of the village’s residents were not frightened by the events because police seemed to have the situation under control.

“Like everybody else, I was just waiting until they solved it,” he said.

But there was concern, he said, about whether the man was armed when he went into the second building.

“When he walked into that other [second] building, he didn’t have any weapon. What we didn’t know was if there was a weapon because when he went into that building, at that time, he was walking without a weapon,” he said.

Blanchet said after the swat teams arrived and a perimeter was established, it did not take long for the incident to be resolved.

“The police made a security perimeter and after that, the negotiator talked by phone with the suspect and the suspect agreed to release the place,” he said.

It took only a few minutes for the man to surrender after he began speaking with the negotiator, Blanchet said.

The man finally gave himself up around 9 p.m. All sources agreed the man was unarmed at the time.

Police arrested a young Inuk man in connection with the incident and took him into custody in Whapmagoostui.

He was expected to appear before a Crown Prosecutor on June 25. But Nunatsiaq News did not receive confirmation of his appearance or the charge laid against him by press-time.

The young man’s name cannot be released until he is formally charged.

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