Friday, July 21, 2006

The Saskatchewan Manhunt

The hunt for Curtis Dagenais came to an end last week when he walked into his hometown RCMP post and surrendered. On a sadder note the surrender occurred shortly after the deaths of both officers, shot the week before, were announced.

It seems that the 'job' of community policing is becoming more dangerous for Mounties,particularly on the prairies. This time last year we were mourning the deaths of 4 constables in another attempted arrest gone bad.

The Saskatchewasn incident is reputed to have started after a domestic dispute led police to attempt to apprehend Dagenais, who fled in a vehicle with the police in pusuit. At some point the chase stopped and shots were exchanged. Of the three constables on the scene, two were hit in the head and one was unharmed. Dagenais fled into the bush on foot.

I would assume that Dagenais was firing a rifle, or that he is a remarkably accurate, or lucky, pistol shot. Since the police were acquainted with him (he is reputed to be a "cop-hater") and having access to the national firearms registry, they might have been aware that firearms could be involved. Unless Dagenais is a native person, who doesn't have to register firearms, or one of those scofflaws who refused to do it.
Would knowing he had a rifle have prevented what happened? I doubt it, but at least the police might have been better prepared for a confrontation and minimized their exposure.

As it is we'll have to see what comes out at he trial. Dagenais claims police harrassment and self-defense. We'll see how high that flies.

It is lucky for him that he was able to evade the police forces searching for him. His daytime surrender came as a surprise to the RCMP who really had no idea where he was. If you've been in the bush in the summer, you realize that his time on the run was no picnic - I'm surprised he could last that long. He looked pretty good for a guy who'd been 'roughing it' for 10 days.

An interesting appendix: Degenais' Father spent most of the week in police custody - he, too, is described as having no great affection for police.

Condolences to the families of officers Robin Cameron and Marc Bourdages.

No comments: