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Dorset hostage drama

Youth faces charges after firing at police and woman

Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 18/02) - A 17-year-old Cape Dorset man faces a series of gun-related charges following an incident in the community last week.

Insp. Jim MacDougall said last week the hamlet's two RCMP officers were called out to respond to death threats allegedly uttered by the teenager in his residence Feb. 11 shortly after 2 p.m.

MacDougall said the officers drove to the man's house and found him holding a woman at gunpoint.

MacDougall would not say what the nature of the relationship between the two Cape Dorset residents was.

"When the police stopped in front of his house, he was in the doorway pointing a .22-calibre rifle at the head of a woman," said MacDougall.

As the officers took cover behind the truck, the woman escaped and began to run. MacDougall said the teenager fired at her two times before police were able to offer her cover behind their vehicle.

"He fired two times at her as she ran away from him," he said. "Our guys returned fire ... he was not struck," said MacDougall.

The youth allegedly continued to fire at police until he emptied his rifle. He then ducked out of sight and threw the weapon towards the police, indicating he was surrendering. As the RCMP waited to approach him, the man jumped back into the doorway with a high-powered rifle and began to fire at police again.

The officers returned the fire and struck the suspect in the arm.

"He fell and dropped the gun. They secured him and removed him to the health centre," said MacDougall.

The man's minor wound was treated and he was released into police custody.

MacDougall said backup was prevented from travelling to the community because of a blizzard in Iqaluit. A team of six officers finally made it into Cape Dorset Wednesday to investigate the incident and escort the youth back to Iqaluit.

He is scheduled to remain in custody in Iqaluit until his first court appearance in Cape Dorset Feb. 27.

MacDougall said the recent increase in the number of gun-related incidents involving Nunavut youth was distressing.

"Obviously we find it a disturbing trend. We don't know what's causing it."