AKULIVIK, Que. – A woman who saw police fatally shoot a man suspected of killing three people in this northern Quebec village says she hasn’t been able to sleep since Saturday’s incident.
Meeko Aliqu said she ran outside of her home after her 17-year-old son told her there had been a stabbing, and witnessed the confrontation between the police officers and the 19-year-old suspect.
“The police officer said ‘Drop it! Drop it!’ in Inuktitut,” she told The Canadian Press in a phone interview.
She said officers fired when the suspect did not drop his knife.
“The police officer he shot him — maybe eight shots, I don’t know,” she said. She said the suspect got up and tried to enter a residence before being shot again.
“He’s going inside the house but the police officer, he shot again one more time inside the house,” said Aliqu.
Quebec’s police watchdog the independent investigations unit said it’s alleged the suspect broke into three homes and stab five people. Three of the victims, including a 10-year-old boy, died. Two others suffered serious injuries and were taken to hospital Saturday.
Residents say the tragedy has shaken Akulivik, a remote village located on a peninsula jutting into Hudson Bay, some 1,700 km north of Montreal.
“The whole region is in shock and is devastated. We’re receiving messages from all over the world sending us support,” said David Qaqutuk, a manager with the regional landholding corporation.
He says everyone knows everyone in the close-knit town, where residents are known to share food and take care of each other.
“All of the victims were the quiet kind. I never noticed the suspect being angry or anything,” he said.
While he won’t speculate on the causes of the tragedy, he said the small towns lacks resources to help people who are struggling.
“We don’t have any AA meetings or healing facilities,” he said. “The only thing that can help is in Kuujjuaq (600 km away), when not everyone wants to be there.”
In a statement released Saturday, the investigations unit said police intercepted the suspect as he was preparing to enter a fourth residence while armed with a knife.
According to preliminary information, police fired to stop the suspect from entering, then fired a second fatal shot when he began to move toward the officers.
The investigations unit sent a team to the village to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Quebec provincial police, who are investigating the stabbings, said their officers were at the scene but did not provide any other updates as of early Sunday afternoon.