WHITEHORSE — The RCMP say they were originally called Tuesday to investigate a domestic dispute in the small Yukon community of Faro before they received reports of gunfire that left two people dead and a man critically injured.
The suspect in the shootings that caused the remote town to be locked down appeared Wednesday in Whitehorse court by phone from Ross River charged with murder and attempted murder.
Court documents say Ralph Shaw, 61, is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault.
The documents say the first-degree murder charges relate to the deaths of Patrick McCracken, 73, and Saenduean Honchaiyaphum, 42. RCMP declined to release the names of the victims.
A Yukon Supreme Court judge scheduled Shaw's next court appearance for Nov. 3.
Police said during a news conference that another man was being treated for critical injuries and was in stable condition.
RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard said police presume the victim and suspects knew each other but he wouldn't discuss a specific relationship.
He said in a statement that Mounties first found the critically injured man in a home in the town.
"The subject had already left when police arrived," he said, referring to the suspect.
Police then attended another home where they found the 42-year-old woman unresponsive.
After calling for backup, police confronted the suspect and he was taken into custody without incident, the statement said.
Police found the 73-year-old man dead while conducting well-being checks in surrounding homes.
"This is a tragic situation for the town of Faro and the Yukon as a whole," Sheppard's statement said.
"No community, no matter how large or small, ever wants to endure this type of event. It will be important as we move through this difficult period to keep the residents of Faro and all those persons impacted by these events, in our hearts and minds and to assist them wherever we can."
Additional resources from British Columbia and other provinces are being brought in to help with the multiple crime scenes, he said.
Yukon Premier Sandy Silver said Wednesday the entire territory is thinking of the residents of Faro.
"This is a very sad time in the Yukon," he said at a news conference.
He added that the territory will be providing psychological services to affected residents.
Mounties on Wednesday would not say what type of weapon was used in the shooting.
Jack Bowers, the incoming mayor of Faro, said the magnitude of the shooting in the close-knit community is only just beginning to sink in.
"There was a sense of immense grief and shock," he said in an interview before leaving for a candlelight vigil for the victims on Wednesday evening.
"I guess the reality is just finally coming home now for so many of us. One of the individuals killed was a longtime friend of mine and so it brings it really close to home."
He said the situation is tragic, there are children involved and it will take a while to heal. Police said earlier the female victim had children.
Bowers said he believes the shootings will make the community bond closer together.
"People are hugging and there are many, many tears being shed. But this has served only to make us stronger."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2021.
Hina Alam, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled the surname of Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard.