Nunavut RCMP have made public some details pertaining to the shooting death of Attachie Ashoona, who was involved in a confrontation with a police officer in Kinngait on Feb. 26.
On that evening, Kinngait RCMP received a report of a man dragging a woman by her hair as she was screaming for help. A second call indicated that Ashoona was inside a residence fighting with a relative.
The police arrived at the residence and spoke with the relative outdoors. The man had blood on his face and appeared to have been engaged in a fight, according to the RCMP.
Ashoona was then heard yelling from inside the household that he was getting a knife. The police were unaware of whether the woman they were called about earlier was also inside the residence.
Two officers entered the home and saw Ashoona with a knife in hand, which was raised above his shoulder.
“Mr. Ashoona told the officers he was going to kill them and to shoot him, and proceeded to move toward the officers,” the RCMP stated in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon.
The officers drew their pistols and gave commands to stop and to drop the knife. Ashoona approached one of the Mounties and reportedly made stabbing motions. The officer, while walking backwards, continued to order Ashoona to stop. The Mountie was eventually cornered and Ashoona closed the gap to within three feet, according to the RCMP.
The officer then fired a pistol twice, striking Ashoona.
The police said Ashoona was provided with immediate medical care. Further assistance was requested from health centre staff. However, he was pronounced deceased at the scene a short while later.
Ottawa Police Service conducted an independent investigation into the actions of the
officer and found no reason to lay charges.
Nunavut Coroner Services will be conducting an inquest into Ashoona’s death.
“This was a difficult situation for the Ashoona family, the police officers involved and Mr. Ashoona, who lost his life. Our thoughts are with the community of Kinngait and all affected by this event,” said Supt. Amanda Jones, commanding officer of Nunavut’s RCMP.