After shooting, First Nation chief blames RCMP for inaction

After shooting, First Nation chief blames RCMP for inaction

Chief Richard Hart of the Cree Nation of Bunibonibee believes Sunday's shooting could have been avoided.

Bunibonibee Cree First Nation Chief Richard Hart blames Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) emergency response teams for inaction after shooting he says could have been prevented .

Two men and two teenagers were shot and injured on Sunday, RCMP said in a statement. They were airlifted to hospital. Following the shooting, the community, located approximately 540 km northeast of Winnipeg, was placed on lockdown to keep people safe, while leaders did not know who was involved in the shooting.

As he expected an emergency team to respond the next day and arrest people involved in the firefight , Chief Richard Hart claims that was never the case.

“When no one comes to rescue you, it's almost like getting a slap in the face. The police don't seem to care about us, it's like they don't care about our situation, no matter if there's a person with a gun ready to kill people lurking in the area.

— Chief of the Cree First Nation of Bunibonibee, Richard Hart

The RCMP responded that although an eight-member team is in the community accessible only by air, not all are present all the time.

This area is in the Cree Nation of Bunibonibee, where four people were injured on Sunday.

Mr Hart says an emergency response team would provide more resources to arrest dangerous and potentially armed people, especially as the man allegedly involved in the shooting was already wanted by the RCMP for aggravated assault, as announced by the federal police five days previously.

According to Tara Seel, media relations officer with the Manitoba RCMP, an emergency response team should have flown in to execute a search warrant and arrest the man before the shooting.

However, the local detachment said they would be able to execute the search warrant before the emergency team arrived. Meanwhile, police are unclear as to what enabled the man to evade arrest and become involved in the firefight.

According to the community leader, the man surrendered to police on Tuesday, two days after the incident.

This very dangerous man with a criminal background is now in custody, says Tara Seel.

Another man also involved in the shooting has been arrested. In a statement released Thursday, police say he is 22 years old and has been charged with more than 15 offences.

Richard Hart believes the recent shooting may have be avoided if the RCMP had better responded to the recent increase in crime in this community.

According to him, residents have had a difficult summer with repeated conflicts between rival groups. But this shooting of the weekend has taken its toll, he believes.

I think people don't feel protected enough by the RCMP, he said.

According to Tara Seel, local RCMP officers felt they had the resources to investigate and focus on public safety. We fully understand that community members are on edge. We understand that this incident has caused a lot of concern and fear among them, she justifies.

According to her, the federal police are doing their best to guarantee the everyone's safety.

As counsel, we have discussed this issue in numerous meetings with the RCMP over the past few weeks. Our main objective is to take the necessary measures, says Richard Hart.

With information from Rachel Bergen

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