Early evidence suggests last night’s shooting was “a targeted attack” and police are investigating “possible ties to gang activity,” say RCMP in a press release sent out at 2:45 p.m. on Monday afternoon.
No names or charges have been announced yet. However, “the suspects and the victim are known to one another, and known to police,” say RCMP.
The man who was shot is “not considered to have sustained life threatening injuries” and no other members of the public were injured.
Of the three people arrested, the two who were inside the vehicle for the chase remain in custody and will appear before court later today. The third man who was arrested separately was later released.
During the chase, at least one parked vehicle was damaged as well as two RCMP vehicles, though the full extent of the damage is being assessed. Early this morning, RCMP located and seized a firearm that is believed to have been used in the shooting.
[UPDATED 12:00, April 27) Following a shooting in the area around Fraser Arms apartments at the end of 51st Street in downtown Yellowknife, numerous police vehicles chased the suspects by car across the city before taking them into custody. It’s unclear whether the shooting happened inside one of the apartment buildings or nearby.
A photo taken by an NNSL reporter shows a shirtless man with a wound in his left shoulder. The man was transported to Stanton Territorial Hospital, according to RCMP. Three suspects are in police custody, but no charges have been laid.
“The shots happened around 9:30,” said a resident of Fraser Arms East, who wished to remain anonymous. “There were two bursts, it sounded like they went off really quickly, it went bang, bang, bang, then another set of shots. Maybe 15 or 20 seconds between the bursts.”
“It was very surreal. We looked out the window and didn’t see anything, then we just hung out in the back of the apartment for the rest of the evening,” she said.
According to police, they responded to reports of multiple gunshots at approximately 9:30 p.m. by which time the suspects had left the scene.
Numerous police vehicles were later engaged in a high-speed chase after an SUV-type vehicle that ended in Kam Lake.
In Range Lake, an RCMP release stated, police were about to perform a vehicle stop when the car accelerated away. Officers followed the vehicle, which then collided with at least one parked vehicle and “stopped on Grace Lake Boulevard as a result of damage it sustained during the incident.”
At midnight, there were two Municipal Enforcement Division cars blocking Grace Lake Boulevard near the entrance of the new Grace Lake subdivision.
One man, who lives on Bigelow Crescent but preferred to remain anonymous, saw a number of police vehicles chasing after a dark coloured “jeep-type vehicle flying down Williams” Ave. around 11:15 p.m. and saw the police ram the vehicle in a “PIT” maneuver.
Another observer of the chase, John Riviere, estimated as many as eight police vehicles were chasing what appeared to be an early 2000s tan Chevy Trailblazer:
“I saw a vehicle with a smashed front-end tearing through the BMO parking lot with several police cruisers right behind,” he said. “Just look for the plastic around town.”
“I personally seen (the chase) come through Kam Lake but I heard about it going through Finlayson and Bigelow. There was broken plastic all over the road,” said Carter Brown, who also witnessed the chase.
Karin Vanonen, who lives about half way down Grace Lake Boulevard, got a text from a friend around 11:30 p.m. telling her to look out her window.
“We probably saw at least seven police cars, then the fire engine and the ambulance. There was a bunch of vehicles and people walking around. Emergency vehicles pretty much all up and down the street.”
She didn’t see the vehicle that was being chased but said the action appeared to be happening at the very end of the dead end street.
“He took a wrong turn in his chase I guess,” she said.
Tussle earlier in the day
At around 2:00 p.m., earlier that day, there had been a loud altercation in the hallway of Fraser Arms East, said the anonymous resident.
“We heard this guy screaming in the hallway, running up and down the hallway. I think there were two guys. One was yelling ‘Give me back my stuff,’ and ‘Why are you doing this to me.’ It was super desperate and he was very upset.”
Through the peephole in their door, the resident’s boyfriend could see a man in his 20s in a white track suit running up and down the hallway, banging on walls or doors.
“Other residents must have seen it too. He started yelling for people to get back in their apartments. I couldn’t see it but I could hear it. We moved to the back of the apartment and got on the ground, because we were pretty sure shit was going to go down.”
After 15 or 20 minutes, “it ended with ‘I love you man, just give me back my stuff.'”
“We went out to run some errands and we arrived back home around 5:30. We saw them in the parking lot. There were two of them. I wasn’t sure if it was the same guys, but my boyfriend said it was. They looked pretty sketchy and they were searching on the ground. We heard them talking about needles.”
After the shooting
Around 9:55 p.m. at Fraser Arms East, there were four police vehicles and an ambulance outside. There appeared to be around five or six officers on the scene, one leaning up against his car parked near the left side of the building with a rifle drawn. The ambulance left shortly after 10:00 p.m.
The parking lot area between the Fraser Arms East and Fraser Arms West buildings was closed off with yellow police tape. People were being allowed into the building, though it did not appear they were being allowed out.
As of 10:30 a.m., Monday morning, the parking was still blocked off with police tape. On a rock in the centre of the parking lot, there were a number of small yellow signs marking areas where police are collecting evidence. There are two more yellow signs on on the wooden walkway on the left side of the Fraser Arms East building. Three officers were on the scene, two who appeared to be collecting evidence in clear plastic bags.
According to the Fraser Arms East resident, there don’t appear to be bullet holes in the hallway of the apartment building.
The RCMP’s investigation continues and additional details about Sunday evening’s events are expected later on Monday.