Jury deliberates in Nunavut RCMP officer’s fatal shooting inquest

A jury in a coroner’s inquest is to start deliberations today in a fatal shooting by a Nunavut RCMP officer who also faces an assault charge in another case.

Cpl. Ian Crowe was charged with assault earlier this year after he responded to a call for service in Sanirajak, Nunavut, in August of 2020.

Crowe, who is to appear on the charge in Iqaluit court next Thursday, told The Canadian Press he has no comment on the assault allegation.

The RCMP says Crowe is currently on administrative duty.

Crowe testified earlier this week at an inquest in Gjoa Haven that he shot and killed an armed man near the community’s airport in 2016.

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Crowe told the inquest that 21-year-old Charles Qirngnirq had yelled out to himself that he wanted to die before he appeared to lift a rifle at Crowe and another Mountie.

Experts testified that Qirngnirq’s gun was not loaded and, although he was carrying two bullets, the bullets were for a different gun and would not have worked in the rifle.

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The Ottawa Police Service investigated the shooting and cleared Crowe, saying the officer’s use of force was reasonable.

The six-person jury is to determine the circumstances around Qirngnirq’s death and make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.

While lawyers for the coroner and Qirngnirq’s family argue his death was a homicide, the RCMP’s lawyer has said it was suicide.

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