Man with gun dead after 'police-involved shooting' at Air North complex, Yukon RCMP confirm

Whitehorse RCMP seen at the Air North hangar in Whitehorse on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Joseph Ho/CBC - image credit)
Whitehorse RCMP seen at the Air North hangar in Whitehorse on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Joseph Ho/CBC - image credit)

A man who brought a gun to the Air North complex in Whitehorse Thursday afternoon died after a "police-involved shooting," Yukon RCMP have confirmed.

Yukon RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard said Friday that members of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) were now in the territory investigating what police previously described as a "serious incident" at the airline's Condor Road facility.

ASIRT has an agreement with the Yukon government to investigate deaths or serious injuries in the territory involving police.

In a press release Friday afternoon, Yukon RCMP said it received a 911 call about a "single male with a firearm in the area of the Air North cargo office," which is also home to Air North subsidiary Chieftain Energy, at 12:37 p.m. Thursday.

"Multiple members from Whitehorse Detachment and the Yukon RCMP Police Dog Service were dispatched and responded to the scene," the news release said.

"The individual was engaged by police and there was a police-involved shooting. No members of public or law enforcement were seriously physically injured."

Officers "immediately" provided first-aid to the man, who was taken to Whitehorse General Hospital and pronounced dead at around 1:30 p.m.

The RCMP is not releasing details about the man "pending confirmation of identity and the notification of next-of-kin," the news release said.

Sheppard and the news release said the events leading up to the "tragic incident" are "now considered a criminal matter" and are under investigation by the Yukon RCMP's Major Crimes Unit, with assistance from the Whitehorse RCMP Detachment, the Yukon RCMP Federal Investigations Unit, the Yukon RCMP Forensic Identification Unit and the Yukon Coroner's Service.

ASIRT, meanwhile, is investigating the "police-involved shooting."

It's unclear if police fatally shot the man, or if the man shot himself.

Sheppard said he couldn't provide information about why the man was at the Air North complex with a firearm, acknowledging he'd heard "speculation" but that he couldn't confirm any rumours.

RCMP members will remain on-scene "for the coming days as the investigation continues," the press release said.

Sheppard said the Yukon RCMP will also hold a media availability on Monday morning, adding that he hoped to be in position to answer more questions then.

Air North president Joe Sparling, meanwhile, told the CBC  News he couldn't offer any details beyond what the RCMP provided, but said Thursday was "obviously a very stressful day for all of us."

"I think the employee team has come together wonderfully to support one another," he said.

"Everybody's doing as well as they can under the circumstances."