Police officers already taxed to their limits in the Trinity-Conception region were mobilized in large numbers Saturday morning in Brigus following a routine noise complaint that turned into something much bigger.
At about 7:30 a.m., the RCMP received a complaint of loud noises, including laughter, screaming and carrying on.
An officer responded, but when he approached a lone male standing near a campfire, the male refused to engage with the officer and walked into the woods.
Suspicious of the man’s behaviour, the officer decided to stay with his vehicle and called in backup, said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Paul Peddle.
“Considering everything that’s gone on, the officer called in help for safety reasons,” said Peddle, referencing the high-profile shooting in Moncton, N.B., last month that left three Mounties dead and two others wounded.
And the region remains on edge following a homicide in North River during the early hours of Sunday, June 28 that resulted in the death of Dale Porter. The case is still under investigation, though Peddle emphasized the incident in Brigus was in no way related to Porter’s death.
In short order, a heavy police response descended on Brigus, including a helicopter, a police service dog, and more than a dozen officers. Peddle said many officers were off duty at the time.
Around noon, Peddle said, two young adults were located, and the matter ended without incident.
So what motivated the lone male to walk away from the officer during the first encounter on Saturday morning?
Peddle said the two males had lit a campfire, and thought they were in trouble. For more than four hours, officers had no idea what they were dealing with, and word spread quickly throughout the town and beyond that a manhunt was ongoing. One resident said an officer told him to stay inside his house for his own safety.
Needless to say, Peddle said officers weren’t too impressed with the two young men.
“We deployed a lot of resources. We took this very seriously,” said Peddle. “It’s unfortunate we had to tie up so many resources.
“This could have been dealt with very easily and quickly had the person just come back. A minor file — a noise complaint, really — turned into something very big."