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Police received a call from a witness around 7:15 p.m., who reported that a man in his mid-20s was on Franklin Ave. by the Motor Vehicle licensing branch, shooting at people with an air rifle. - NNSL photo

Search still on for suspect in downtown shootings

Mike W. Bryant & Chris Puglia
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 22/06) - Police are still searching for a man armed with what they believe is a BB gun, after he went on a shooting spree in downtown Yellowknife, Thursday night.

Downtown was sealed off after reports of a shooting between 46th and 47th St. just off Franklin Ave around 7:15 p.m.

An RCMP officer uses a flashlight to survey a wooden utility pole in front of Quality Furniture on Franklin Avenue last night. Police are searching a man in his mid-twenties who shot at a pedestrian and a passing vehicle with what they believe was an air rifle. - Chris Puglia/NNSL photo

Police say a pedestrian walking on Franklin Ave. was shot in the neck but wasn't injured. Another man reported that the back window of his vehicle was shot out near Quality Furniture. The vehicle was seized by the RCMP's Forensic Investigation Section for further examination.

On Friday, downtown residences were canvassed by police in their search for a suspect. The RCMP also returned to the scene of the shooting during daylight hours to look for more clues.

Last night, a reporter watched as police closely examining a wooden utility post near Quality Furniture.

Shortly afterwards, a bystander told Yellowknifer that he was on his way to the Vietnam Noodle House when an RCMP officer approached and told him there had been gun fire. The officer then frisked him on his way into the restaurant.

Another Yellowknifer reporter watched as police detained two men and one woman near the corner of 49th Ave. and 45th St around 7:30 p.m.

The two men were on the road lying face down towards each other while officers stood over them. The woman was on her knees in a snowbank nearby with another police officer standing behind her, shouting orders.

About 10 minutes later, two women walking by 49th Ave. said they heard "banging noises," which sounded to them like someone chopping wood. Neither wished to be identified.

RCMP and bylaw officers had almost all of downtown cordoned off from 45th St. to 50 St. and from Franklin Ave. to 49th Ave. Numerous vehicles were observed being directed away from downtown.

Const. Jane McDermott told Yellowknifer Thursday she wasn't aware that three people had been detained on 49th Ave., but said no one had been arrested and they were still searching for a lone suspect.

McDermott said a witness described the man as caucasian, with a slender build, approximately six-feet tall.

He was wearing black pants, a slim-fitting green jacket, and white shoes. He had flat, dark hair with spikey bangs, and no facial hair.

Persons can contact RCMP Const. Jeff Burkell at 765-8596 if they have information on the suspect, said McDermott.