Jane George (Nunatsiaq News) – The Ottawa Police Service and RCMP members from the Northwest Territories G Division will investigate the fatal shooting of a man by an RCMP member in Igloolik, Nunavut on Tuesday.
The team will conduct “an independent external investigation” into the incident, Supt. Hilton Smee, the officer in charge of criminal investigations at Nunavut’s V Division, said in a late-afternoon news conference in Iqaluit on Wednesday.
The RCMP requests an independent external investigation whenever there is “serious injury or death of an individual involving an RCMP employee,” he said.
“In this matter, the Ottawa Police Service will oversee this investigation,” he said.
The RCMP’s major crimes unit from Iqaluit has already arrived in Igloolik, about 525 kilometres northwest of Iqaluit, but the outside investigators are still en route.
The shooting was “a tragic situation,” Smee said.
“I want to take this time to express my condolences to the family and the friends, and the community of Igloolik. Incidents such as this affect us all deeply,” he said. “Our role and commitment is to protect our communities.”
The RCMP officer, one of three posted to the community’s detachment of two constables and a sergeant, is “fine,” having suffered only minor injuries, Smee said.
Neither the Mountie nor the man who died has been identified.
According to police, Igloolik RCMP members checked on the well-being of a man at a residence in the community of about 1,600 just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Police said the man advanced toward police “wielding a weapon and uttering threats.”
The police statement did not specify the type of weapon the man was wielding. An RCMP member shot the man.
RCMP officers administered First Aid at the scene, and then brought the man to the local health centre, where he died a short time afterward.
“Police work is high risk,” Smee said. “When we’re presented situations like the one … our first objective is protect all those who are at risk.”
Smee said “the most important action that we’re taking right now” involves supporting the members posted to Igloolik and looking after the welfare of all RCMP members in Nunavut.
The shooting comes two days after a Kimmirut, Nunavut man opened fire on two local RCMP members’ homes.
No one was injured, but 22-year-old David Lyta of Kimmirut faces two counts of recklessly discharging a firearm.
Lyta appeared briefly before a justice of the peace in the Nunavut Court of Justice on Wednesday. He is scheduled to return to court on Friday.