A man described a near-miss with RCMP patrol cars as police responded in numbers to a Wednesday evening report of a gun on Yellowknife’s Frame Lake Trail.
Corey Walsh told Cabin Radio he was quick enough to dive out of the way of a fast-moving RCMP vehicle as he watched the incident unfold, but added: “An old lady or little kid could have been struck.”
In footage seen by Cabin Radio, at least two RCMP officers with weapons drawn order an individual to “get on the ground, on your belly, right now.”
The individual, with their hands up, replies: “Will you tell my wife I love her?”
After about a minute of repeated orders from officers, the person appears to comply.
Police said they had received a report alleging the individual had a firearm in their possession.
“No firearm was located at the scene. The person has not been charged at this time,” an RCMP news release on Thursday stated.
Police said patrol cars were obliged to drive directly onto the downtown pedestrian and bicycle trail as a “potentially high-risk situation” was unfolding.
“RCMP members encountered several pedestrians during the response and instructed them to avoid or leave the area for public safety,” police said in a statement.
“In one encounter, a person moving quickly on the pathway toward a moving police vehicle had to give way and move quickly off the pathway.
“The officer stopped and checked on the person, who did not appear to be injured, before continuing to the call for service.”
‘We must respond with expediency’
Walsh, speaking to Cabin Radio, said the vehicles drove onto the trail at its intersection with Matonabee Street at around 7:45pm.
“As soon as I get to the mouth where the road is, I see two cop cars coming between the trees at a high rate of speed. I veered off the road into the bush,” he said.
“The cop car actually stopped and the driver said, ‘Oops, sorry.'”
Walsh said he did not hear sirens or see lights on the vehicles at the time. RCMP did not specify whether lights and sirens on all vehicles were activated, though the lights were active on an RCMP vehicle that appears in footage shot earlier in the incident.
“When we receive a call for service from a person concerned for their personal safety involving a possible weapon, especially a firearm, we must respond with expediency,” said Staff Sergeant Yannick Hamel, operations manager for Yellowknife RCMP, in a statement.
“Our members are trained in the safe operation of our police vehicles, even during a potential high-risk situation. We spoke to the person who had to move quickly off the pathway and they advised they were fine, for which we are thankful,” Hamel continued.
“We are also thankful that the suspect was not armed once we were able to locate and arrest [them].”