By: Alexandra Paul
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba’s premier pledged to bring in a special unit from outside the province to investigate the RCMP shooting in Norway House over the weekend, the First Nation’s chief said Monday morning.
Norway House Chief Ron Evans said he spoke with Manitoba premier Greg Selinger Sunday night hours after the shooting.
"I talked to him and it’s something he suggested and we agreed with it," Evans said. "It’s a special investigation unit from Alberta."
Setting up a independent investigative unit from outside Manitoba that is separate from the RCMP satisfied the community as the best way to probe Sunday’s shooting, Evans said.
The premier’s office confirmed it has ordered an independent investigation and will issue a statement later today.
A man remained in a Winnipeg hospital Monday after being shot by RCMP in Norway House during an afternoon children’s baseball game.
RCMP confirmed an officer discharged a firearm and a Norway House resident suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Evans said Monday about 300 people attending two baseball games witnessed the shooting, many of them taking videos of the incident with their cellphones. Those videos and witness accounts are expected to form the basis of the evidence the independent investigators will collect.
"We’re going to give them whatever evidence there is. We don’t want anybody to jeopardize or tamper with it, " Evans said.
Sunday night, Evans and a witness to the shooting identified the wounded man as Evan Cromarty, who they said is about 20 years old and lives in Norway House.
Evans said Cromarty was wounded in the shoulder and taken by air ambulance to Winnipeg in stable condition.
The shooting took place around 4 p.m., said witness Annie Ettawacappow, 25, who lives next to the Rossville Diamond where the incident took place. She said she was alerted to trouble by the sound of sirens and walked out of her house to see what was going on.
"I was outside my house. I was watching and he was running toward the field," Ettawacappow said.
She said she saw two RCMP cruisers arrive and two officers come out with their weapons drawn.
"A cop pointed a gun at him. I saw him put up his hands," she said.
The police told him to "freeze," she said.
Ettawacappow said Cromarty kept his hands up and was walking backwards. "He was walking away with his hands up."
She said only one of the officers fired his weapon and she heard four shots.
"He went down and fell to the ground. He started twitching. I thought he was dead," Ettawacappow said, adding she didn’t think Cromarty was armed, which Evans echoed.
"He had no weapons on him," Evans said.
Both Ettawacappow and Evans told the Free Press there were two games at the Rossville Diamond Sunday. One involved 12-year-olds and the other 17-year-olds, Evans said. The teams were from Norway House and Cross Lake.