'It's heartbreaking': Mayo residents shaken up after double homicide

A sign welcomes people to Mayo, Yukon, in January. (Virginie Ann/CBC News - image credit)
A sign welcomes people to Mayo, Yukon, in January. (Virginie Ann/CBC News - image credit)

A double homicide that took place in the early hours of Saturday morning have many residents of Mayo, Yukon, calling for action.

At approximately 9:13 a.m, Mayo RCMP responded to a call from the C-6 subdivision in the area of Future Road notifying them of the deaths. When they arrived on scene, they found two men fatally shot.

Resident Ronalda Moses, her spouse and two children live in the house next door to where the incident took place.

"It feels a little surreal," Moses told CBC News. "It kind of makes me feel a little bit threatened for the safety of my family, and for the community at large.

"We could have been a victim in the crossfire of it, and that's very scary to think."

Submitted by Ronalda Moses
Submitted by Ronalda Moses

Moses said on the morning the homicides occurred, she was woken up by what sounded like gunshots.

"We woke up and went to check and there seemed to be nothing," she said. "We just assumed it was firecrackers because we did have an incident in the fall where kids were playing with firecrackers and it sounded similar."

In the morning, when police started to arrive, Moses learned it wasn't firecrackers that she'd heard.

Moses said the deaths are tragic.

She said she thinks the escalating violence and drug-related activity in the community has gone way too far. She is calling for action from community leaders and police.

"It's impacting the community and the ones that want to raise their families here," Moses said. "Help us help them and get the resources they need. It's just so unfair to have all of us suffer. We just need to have a better system in place."

'Shock and a little bit unbelievable'

Mayo's mayor, Trevor Ellis, said it's hard for him to find the words to describe his feelings three days after the incident occurred.

"I don't want to say discouraged," Ellis told CBC News. "I'm not really sure how to put it. It's heartbreaking. It's kind of embarrassing that we're being shown in this kind of light, because we're a better community than this.

"It's almost getting to the point where it's like, 'Geez what's next?'"

Submitted by Trevor Ellis
Submitted by Trevor Ellis

Ellis acknowledged he has seen more problems with drug-related incidents occurring in Mayo, but he never expected things to get this bad.

"This is extreme violence," he said. "The murder of two individuals is almost beyond comprehension and that this could happen in our little community, I think this is a wake-up call."

Ellis told CBC News that he spoke to Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation Chief Simon Mervyn on Monday and offered his full support, both personal and political, moving forward.

He said the next steps still need to be discussed with the First Nation, and with RCMP.

He said he wants to assure residents action will be taken, but said it will take the community as a whole to make a change.

"The RCMP have been extremely active in telling people what kind of information they need to pursue and to fight these kind of crimes in our community, and we need to as a community start stepping up and reporting them."

Ellis said despite the tragic events that occurred over the weekend, the community of Mayo is still a wonderful place to call home.

"This town is filled with great people," he said. "There's more good than there is bad in Mayo. Guaranteed."

Moving forward

Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation Chief Simon Mervyn told CBC News that his First Nation passed a resolution on Tuesday morning.

The resolution, later posted online by the First Nation, says an opioid emergency is "terrorizing the public in Mayo including FNNND citizens and families, with violence, crime, overdose and death."

The resolution declares a substance use state of emergency and calls on police, the village and the territorial government to work together to address it.

Mervyn said he is committed to moving forward with creating a safer community.

"In regards to working with the RCMP, YG [Yukon Government], Village of Mayo, and getting a team together to build an action plan to deal with this thing," Mervyn explained. "We're hoping to get it done quickly."

Mike Rudyk/CBC
Mike Rudyk/CBC

Mervyn said counsellors will be brought into the community to help support residents through this time.

He said realistically the community's drug problem won't go away, but additional resources will be available for those who seek them.