A police officer and civilian are both seriously injured after shots were fired in Whitehorse’s Porter Creek neighbourhood, according to Yukon’s RCMP commanding officer.
Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard delivered the news at the RCMP headquarters in Whitehorse in the late afternoon of Sept. 29.
Earlier in the day, police had issued a press release describing an “active and evolving” situation and asking the public to avoid the area of Centennial Street, 14 Avenue and Elm Street in Porter Creek until further notice.
On Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m., police went to a house in the area in an attempt to arrest Sheldon Lawrence Keobke, Sheppard said. He characterized the 35-year-old suspect as a “high-risk prolific offender” who was the subject of a warrant and had previously used “dangerous actions to evade police” such as taking off in a vehicle at high speed during a traffic stop.
Sheppard said police had been actively trying to arrest Keobke and believed he was armed. A critical incident program had been set up in attempt to arrest Keobke including multiple units from the Yukon RCMP and police dogs as well as officers from the Northwest Territories and British Columbia.
Sheppard said Keobke ran away from police when officers approached him to arrest him and he approached another officer patrolling the perimeter. That’s when an “incident occured” and shots were fired, hitting Keobke and an officer.
Sheppard said who shot who and when and how many shots were fired remains unknown. RCMP would not provide further details at this point in the investigation.
Both men received medical treatment and are in stable condition in hospital, with Keobke being moved out of the Yukon for medical care.
Sheppard said three to four other people were taken into custody and released without charges.
Multiple locations are considered part of the investigation. The crime scenes have been secured as evidence continues to be collected.
Keobke is being charged with multiple offences including failing to comply with release order condition, resisting or obstructing a peace officer, attempted murder with a firearm, possession of weapon for dangerous purpose, unauthorized possession of a restricted weapon, weapons possession contrary to order and possession of a loaded restricted firearm.
The Yukon RCMP major crimes unit has taken over the investigation with the assistance of the Whitehorse detachment, the federal investigations unit, the forensic identification unit and B.C. RCMP major crimes.
“Bear with us in the days ahead,” Sheppard said.
“This is a very large file and undertaking. It is going to have some impact on our resourcing.”
The Yukon government has called on an independent police watchdog from outside the territory to investigate. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team investigates incidents involving police that result in serious injury and death as well as allegations of police misconduct.
“Our government supports the RCMP in the important work they do,” Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said in a statement.
“I express my sincere thanks to all members of the RCMP ‘M’ Division and to the officers from British Columbia and Northwest Territories for their professionalism and dedication during this critical incident.”
Contact Dana Hatherly at email@example.com