NEWS

RCMP confirm Iqaluit Happy Valley standoff ends on day 3, no injuries

04/30/2015 10:23 EDT | Updated 08/07/2015 02:59 EDT
A standoff that began Tuesday afternoon in Iqaluit's Happy Valley neighbourhood ended peacefully Thursday morning with no injuries, according to Iqaluit RCMP.

Police responded to a call Tuesday afternoon in the Happy Valley area about a distressed man in a house in the Iqaluit neighbourhood. ​RCMP and municipal enforcement officers set up roadblocks at the intersections of Atungauyait Drive and Qiyuttaat Lane at around 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

Armed police, including an Emergency Response Team, surrounded the area and residents were asked to stay inside their homes. A number of shots were fired from the residence during the incident, according to RCMP.

"At approximately 10:00 a.m. [EST], April 30, 2015, the volatile situation has been de-escalated without injury," read a statement from Iqaluit RCMP. "The individual has been safely removed from the residence."

RCMP have advised that the police blockade will remain in place for the time being in order to preserve the scene, though residents have confirmed that some people have been able to pass in or out of the roadblocks. 

CBC videographer Vincent Robinet, who is on the scene, confirmed that police have started removing roadblocks from the area.

Jasen Kelly, who works for the CBC in Iqaluit, was locked down in his home near the standoff since Tuesday afternoon. This morning, according to Kelly, RCMP evacuated homes in and around where the standoff was taking place. By 9:00 a.m. EST, Kelly says he could see police putting on padded gear.

Officers then entered the house, says Kelly, and could later be seen high fiving each other, signaling the end of the conflict. An officer then put up his thumb to let neighbours know the standoff had ended. 

Police have taken a man in his 20s into custody as a result of the incident. 

Armed standoff began Tuesday afternoon, school to re-open 

During the two-day confrontation, police used flashbang grenades during the confrontation, and spoke with the man in his residence using a megaphone. As the situation stretched into a second, and then third day, Mounties from the south were flown in to "spell off" their Iqaluit counterparts.

An emergency shelter was set up Tuesday night at the Arctic Winter Games complex youth centre for residents who couldn't return to their homes as a result of the roadblock. Red Cross representatives told CBC that six people slept at the shelter Tuesday night, and ten on Wednesday.

Sonja Lonsdale, principal of Joamie school, told CBC that she received a call at 10:07 a.m. EST that it was safe to re-open, and that it will re-open this afternoon. Joamie, which sits on a hill above the house where the incident took place, was closed on Wednesday, as well as Thursday morning.

'Thank goodness'

Craig Dunphy, who lives in Happy Valley and was trapped in his home during the lockdown, said the news was "a relief."

"Thank goodness," he said. "Thank goodness is all I can say that there was no one hurt on either side."

Dunphy praised the actions of RCMP, though he added that he was going "a bit stir crazy" after being trapped in his home since Tuesday afternoon.

"I must say the RCMP have been good," he said. "My wife had an appointment with a specialist this morning, and they were able to guide her out. And she took some extra stuff for my daughter who was out and hadn't been able to get home." 

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