POLITICS

Halifax police rule out connection between gun incidents in city's downtown

10/24/2014 05:46 EDT | Updated 12/24/2014 05:59 EST
HALIFAX - A man accused of leaving a sawed-off shotgun on a Halifax bus made a brief appearance in court Friday, hours after police said the incident was not connected to a reported sighting of someone carrying a concealed weapon the same day.

Justin Crathorne, 25, was remanded into custody until his next hearing on Nov. 6, when he could enter a plea on multiple charges, including possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and carrying a concealed weapon.

Crown attorney Brian Cox said outside court that he was opposed to his release because of the dangerous nature of the prohibited weapon Crathorne is alleged to have had.

"The weapon that was alleged to be in possession of the accused is a dangerous weapon — it's a sawed-off shotgun," he said.

"It's inherently dangerous, both from the damage it can inflict and the fact that it can be concealed."

Police arrested Crathorne without incident at about 11 a.m. Thursday on a busy downtown street after a bus driver reported finding a gun on his bus, which was parked nearby.

Police said there were no threats made to anyone and no shots were fired.

The arrest came as police were searching the same area for someone reportedly carrying what appeared to be a rifle wrapped in black fabric.

They said they received a single report of the sighting Thursday at about 8:30 a.m., leading to a heavy police presence in the downtown core, business closures and heightened security at municipal buildings, schools and hospitals.

"From the Crown's perspective, having reviewed the investigation thus far the two incidents are wholly unrelated," Cox said.