Skip to content

'Coughing for hours': Yk man recounts bear spray attack at downtown apartment

A Yellowknife man says he was doused with bear spray by an unknown assailant during an early morning attack at a downtown apartment building.

The release of the noxious spray left orange-coloured stains on a hallway wall inside Rockridge Apartments.
Brendan Burke/NNSL photo.

The man, who has asked to remain anonymous, told NNSL Media he was inside his Rockridge Apartments unit when his door was kicked in around 12:30 a.m. Monday.

He said he confronted the intruder in the outside hallway seconds later — that’s when he said he was blasted in the face and eyes with a cloud of bear spray, inhaling the fumes as a result.

“I was coughing for hours,” he said.

His eyes were left red and swollen, he added.

The assailant, whom the victim said he doesn't know, then left the building.

He said a portion of Rockridge Apartments was evacuated following the release of the spray.

Yellowknife RCMP confirmed on Tuesday that a “noxious substance” was released inside the 54 Avenue apartment building.

Police, paramedics and the city’s fire department responded to the incident at the 54 Avenue apartment building around 12:40 a.m. Monday. Brendan Burke/NNSL photo.

“The City of Yellowknife Fire Division (YKFD) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were called to assist decontaminating the building and verifying the well-being of residents affected by the substance,” RCMP spokesperson Julie Plourde said in an email.

Police are continuing to investigate. No arrests have been made.

The tenant says his apartment unit door was kicked in before the spray was released, leaving the frame broken.
Brendan Burke/NNSL photo.

There have been multiple incidents involving the release of bear spray in the city in the last year.

In fall 2019, three suspected bear spray attacks occurred in just over a week, prompting a warning from Yellowknife RCMP.

“Bear spray is a noxious substance that can be harmful when used on humans. Devices that deploy a liquid, spray, powder, gas, or any other substance ‘for the purpose of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating any person’ are classified as prohibited weapons under the Criminal Code,” stated Sgt. Yannick Hamel in October of last year.