Gunfire at Canadian Tire

RNC investigating RCMP altercation, gunshots on St. John's parking lot

Deana Stokes Sullivan dss@thetelegram.com
Published on January 26, 2010

In what is normally a relatively quiet St. John's neighbourhood, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary forensic investigators spent hours Monday night scouring the west side of the Canadian Tire parking lot on Elizabeth Avenue for evidence following an incident involving gunshots.

RNC spokesman Const. Paul Davis said plainclothes RCMP officers were on the parking lot around 5:20 p.m. "attempting to effect an arrest when there was an altercation between the officers and the persons they were attempting to arrest and during that altercation, a police officer discharged his service firearm."

In what is normally a relatively quiet St. John's neighbourhood, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary forensic investigators spent hours Monday night scouring the west side of the Canadian Tire parking lot on Elizabeth Avenue for evidence following an incident involving gunshots.

RNC spokesman Const. Paul Davis said plainclothes RCMP officers were on the parking lot around 5:20 p.m. "attempting to effect an arrest when there was an altercation between the officers and the persons they were attempting to arrest and during that altercation, a police officer discharged his service firearm."

Davis said the people they were attempting to arrest fled the area and are at large.

"We are, again, very early in this investigation and there's not much in further details that I can provide you at this point in time," he told reporters at the scene.

He was unable to provide details as to how many RCMP officers or how many suspects were involved in the incident.

The RNC is working very closely with the RCMP as part of the investigation, Davis said, and is interested in interviewing anyone who was in the area at the time.

Davis couldn't say how many shots were fired, or if the suspects were armed.

However, at least four shell casings could be seen on the area of the parking lot, surrounded by yellow police tape, as well as debris from a vehicle.

Spectators who flocked to the area Monday night, including nearby residents and Canadian Tire customers, seemed shocked to hear that a gun had been fired in the heart of St. John's, but none of them had witnessed the incident.

Asked whether the suspects who fled could be a danger to the public, Davis said, "that's a matter that is part of this investigation and we're very early in the investigation. ... When we have some further information in regards to the persons, the reasons for the arrest and to answer your question, we will provide it."

At this point, he said, the RNC has no reason to believe there were any injuries due to the RCMP firearm being used.

Interviewing witnesses

"There's a large number of investigators from the RNC who are being briefed and who are engaging now in the investigation," Davis said. "We have a number of witnesses that we are interviewing as well as we speak.

"We are appealing to the public, anyone who was here at that time and witnessed any of the events that took place here this afternoon, we are asking them to contact the RNC."

Late Monday night, Davis issued a release with information regarding two vehicles involved in the incident.

The first is described as a black Toyota Tundra truck with a Quebec licence plate, number FFY43681. The second is a 2007 blue Toyota Tundra truck with a Newfoundland licence plate, number CSL-360.

Anyone with information in relation to either of these vehicles is asked to contact the RNC or RCMP immediately. Police are advising the public to not approach the vehicles or persons associated with the vehicles.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or anyone having any information in relation to the incident, is asked to contact the RNC at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Information can also be provided on the Newfoundland and Labrador Crime Stoppers website at www.rocktips. ca.

RCMP communications officials could not be reached for comment by press time.

dss@thetelegram.com