A 32-year-old man from Dawson City was shot by police on Thursday.
“The man engaged police with a weapon and was shot when the officers feared for their safety,” said an RCMP news release issued Friday.
The incident occurred near the junction of the Dempster Highway and North Fork Road, also known as Viceroy Road, at kilometre eight of the highway.
Police provided first aid to the man and called for medical assistance. He was medevaced to Whitehorse with non-life-threatening injuries, the release said.
Members of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team arrived in the territory this weekend to begin their investigation.
“Our role and our mandate, as defined by the agreement with the territory, is to determine whether the actions of the police were lawful and whether or not they committed any criminal offences during the course of the incident,” said Clif Purvis, of the Alberta response team.
The independent, civilian organization will not judge whether the officers’ actions were right or wrong, just whether or not they broke the law, Purvis added.
It has been discovered the police had an ongoing investigation and stopped the man’s car to arrest him, said Purvis.
“During the course of that traffic stop, two members of the RCMP discharged their police service pistols, striking and injuring the individual,” he said. “I can tell you that recovered from the scene was a weapon – it was an axe. No gun was recovered from the scene. The only weapon present was an axe – a splitting maul – a big axe.”
The investigation team will try to determine what the man was doing with the axe, said Purvis.
The legislatively mandated response team has already met with the chief of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation and the Grand Chief Ruth Massie, of the Council of Yukon First Nations, said Purvis. The goal is to gain some insight into the community and help appoint a local observer for the investigation.
The territory is too small to justify its own response team, but both the Yukon and Alberta governments are looking to develop a formal, long-term agreement to use the province’s existing group for local RCMP investigations, said Purvis.
The victim is a member of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation.
No further information about him or his injuries has been released.
Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at email@example.com