RCMP radio tower damaged by bulletsAntenna's range affected; Canadian Ranger charged in incident
Northern News Services
Published Monday, February 17, 2014
WHATI/LAC LA MARTRE
RCMP have arrested a man in Whati after their its radio tower was riddled with bullets, causing thousands of dollars of damage and affecting police radio coverage in the community.
Joseph Alexis, 41, is charged with careless use of a firearm and mischief in excess of $5,000. According to a court document filed with a search warrant, RCMP believe Alexis is a Canadian Ranger and used his government-issued Lee Enfield rifle in the incident.
Officers in the area only noticed the damage when, on Jan. 3, they lost radio contact while conducting a patrol
of the Tlicho winter road. RCMP were only 12 km outside the community and hadn't lost contact at that distance before, according to the document.
The tower was inspected and it was determined a specialist from would need to be brought up to repair the damage.
Witnesses later came forward to RCMP, alleging they saw a man fire multiple times at the tower while intoxicated on New Year's Day, according to the document.
RCMP searched Alexis' home on Jan. 12, seizing a shotgun and three rifles, including his Canadian Forces-issued Lee Enfield rifle, along with hundreds of shotgun shells, .22 calibre and .303 calibre bullets, according to the search warrant. Alexis was arrested the same day.
RCMP say the radio tower was repaired on Feb. 13, noting the bullets caused "several thousand dollars" of damage.
According to the court document, Alexis holds the rank of corporal in the Canadian Rangers and was allowed to keep his issued rifle at home as part of his duties.
Alexis is scheduled to appear in territorial court in Whati on Feb. 25 for his first appearance in the matter.