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Iqaluit shooter in custody after standoff, police say

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A 25-year-old man is in custody and facing numerous firearm charges after police were called on December 22, RCMP said in a press release. The RCMP received a call about a man who was brandishing knives in a residence in the 500 block in Iqaluit. 

A family fled from the home, and then a 25-year-old opened fire on police vehicles and passing vehicles, according to the release. The RCMP does not have an exact number of shots fired, but said there were “numerous” shots, according to RCMP media relations officer Danielle Pollock. 

The RCMP Critical Incident team was called and the neighbouring homes were evacuated. 

Police say the shooter damaged public and police property during the three hour stand-off.

An RCMP vehicle seen in the 500 block area. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

No members of the public or RCMP officers were injured, said Pollock. She said the shooter was injured, but would not say whether he was shot. He has been taken to the hospital, where he remains with non-life threatening injuries. Because the man was injured, the investigation is expected to be taken over by the Ottawa Police Service. 

Pollock said the area will remain cordoned off for some time as the investigation continues. 

“Alcohol was a contributing factor in this event,” RCMP said in the release. “The RCMP would like to remind the public that alcohol and firearms don’t mix!”

The RCMP said, “This event was preventable.” Residents can pick up a free trigger lock at any Nunavut RCMP detachment. 

There are two RCMP vehicles in the 500 block area of Iqaluit.

Like a ‘small firecracker’

Bert Rose, a 40-year resident of Iqaluit, said around 10 p.m. that night he received an email from his daughter in Ottawa asking if they were okay. His daughter told him that she had heard there was a lockdown going on in the community. 

Rose looked out the window and saw a few police cars. He said at 10:15 p.m. he heard three or four gunshots, and a few more about half an hour later.

Then at about 1 a.m. he heard additional shots. “It was like somebody had set off a small firecracker outside the house.”

“We didn’t have any direct impact, but the police have blocked off the street close to our home,” said Rose. “It just seemed like a normal, ugly stormy night, but really had no impact on us.”

This marks the second standoff with police in Iqaluit in a week. On Wednesday, police had asked the public to avoid the area between 135 and 141 Nipisa St., as they dealt with a person barricaded inside a home in the area

An RCMP vehicle seen in the 500 block area of Iqaluit. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

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‘Too soon to celebrate’ Ottawa’s low case count, says Etches

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged just 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest daily total since Sept. 1.

Because of the lag between testing and reporting, the low number could simply reflect low turnout at the city’s testing sites on weekends — all month, new case counts have been lower on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

During a virtual news conference Tuesday, the city’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said she doesn’t read too much into a single day’s report.

“I don’t think we can make too much of 11. Actually, it could be a lot higher tomorrow — I would expect that, on average,” she said. “It’s too soon to celebrate.”

Provincewide, public health officials reported 1, 249 new cases Tuesday.

OPH also declared 62 cases resolved Tuesday, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 462. Two more people have died, both in care homes currently experiencing outbreaks, raising the city’s COVID-19 death toll to 361. 

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Santa Claus isn’t coming to Ottawa’s major malls this year

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Santa Claus may still be coming to town this Christmas, but he won’t be dropping by any of Ottawa’s major malls, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Cadillac Fairview said Santa won’t be making an appearance at any of its 19 malls across Canada, including Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa. On Tuesday, Bayshore and St. Laurent shopping centres confirmed they, too, are scrapping the annual tradition.

“Due to the evolution of the situation in regards to COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our Santa Program and Gift Wrap Program this year,” Bayshore spokesperson Sara Macdonald wrote in an email to CBC.

Macdonald said parent company Ivanhoé Cambridge cancelled all holiday activities “due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country.”

Macdonald said families that had already booked an appointment to visit Santa will receive an email with more information.  

Virtual visits with Santa

Rideau Centre said based on customer research and discussions with public health officials, its North Pole is going online this year.

“Children will be able to have a private chat with Santa,” said Craig Flannagan, vice-president of marketing for Cadillac Fairview. “You’ll also be able to join a 15-minute storytime with Santa over Facebook Live.” 

At Place d’Orléans Shopping Centre, visitors are invited to take a “selfie with Santa” — actually, a life-size cutout of Santa Pierre, the man who’s been playing Santa at the east end mall for years.

“We understand that this is not ideal, but in lieu of this tradition we will be doing what we can to maintain and encourage holiday cheer,” according to a statement on the mall’s Facebook page.

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Ottawa Bylaw breaks up two large parties in Ottawa over the weekend

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OTTAWA — Ottawa Bylaw is investigating social gatherings of more than 10 people in private homes across Ottawa last weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson tells Newstalk 580 CFRA that Ottawa Bylaw broke-up two house parties over the weekend, with 20 to 25 people at each party.

“That’s the kind of stupidity that angers me, that’s where the bulk of the transmissions are taking place, if we exclude the tragedy of the long-term care homes; it’s these house parties with unrelated people,” said Watson on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts.

“The message doesn’t seem to be getting through, particularly to some young people who think they’re invincible.”

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman says, “There are still ongoing investigations from this past weekend that could result in charges.”

Chapman says recent investigations led to two charges being issued for social gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act.

“In one case, up to 30 individuals were observed attending a house party in Ward 18 on Oct. 24,” said Chapman.

“The second charge was issued following a house party in Ward 16 on Oct. 31, where up to 16 individuals were observed to be in attendance.”

The fine is $880 for hosting an illegal gathering.

Alta Vista is Ward 18, while Ward 16 is River Ward.

Ottawa Bylaw has issued 24 charges for illegal gatherings since the start of the pandemic.

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