Police in Yellowknife confirmed three arrests after a handgun brandished in a downtown apartment building triggered an all-day operation that concluded at 7pm on Friday.
Officers closed off a section of 53 Street outside the Grayling Manor apartment building early on Friday morning. Later, police also blocked 51A Avenue outside the Sunridge apartments.
Residents described armed police, including officers in tactical gear, gathering at the front of Grayling Manor at around 2:30pm before entering the building and retrieving a male suspect.
Just before 7pm, two residents of 51A Avenue reported police escorting what appeared to be two people in handcuffs from the Sunridge building. RCMP subsequently confirmed a total of three arrests for the day.
In an earlier news release, Insp Barry LaRocque – officer in charge of the Yellowknife detachment – said witnesses had described three men entering an apartment at Grayling Manor early that morning.
“There was a disturbance. At one point a handgun was observed and pointed at occupants,” LaRocque wrote.
“The males left the unit without any injuries to those around. Responding members conducted a search on the exterior of Grayling Manor and found a handgun. Investigation determined that one of the subjects made their way to Sunridge apartments on 51A Avenue.”
Officers could be heard, shortly after 7:30am on Friday, shouting toward an apparent bystander who appeared to have stumbled across a gun in the vicinity of Grayling Manor.
LaRocque said one person had been arrested. No information about that person was given.
Just before 8pm, in a further update, LaRocque said the operation had “concluded safely” with two more men in custody and the investigation would continue “through the night and into tomorrow.”
An afternoon warning for residents to avoid 51A Avenue proved harder for some as the operation wore into the evening.
Chris Page, whose family lives on the street, said his wife had attempted to return to the house shortly after 5pm – at least seven hours after the police operation on the street began.
She was turned away by officers blocking the road, Page said.
“She got off work and tried to come home. They said no. She asked if she could park her vehicle and be escorted home. They said no,” he told Cabin Radio.
“She asked, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ They said they didn’t have any answers for her.”
The operation’s conclusion at 7pm meant the family’s backup plan, involving a hotel room for the night, was no longer required.
LaRocque said: “These situations are complex so the RCMP take many precautions to ensure the safety of the public, the people involved, and the police.”
He said he thanked residents “for their understanding when turned around at a checkpoint or when they cannot go to their homes within the police containment zone.”