FLIN FLON — A New Years’ Day homicide and a pair of shooting incidents in Flin Flon and Creighton have ended with the Mounties getting their man after a community-wide manhunt.
RCMP have located and arrested the suspect following a day-long manhunt spanning communities in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan. RCMP announced that 18-year-old Xander Tardiff had been arrested Jan. 2.
The arrest took place after nightfall at the Aspen Grove apartment complex, which had been the location of a series of police searches earlier in the day.
"Xander Tardiff has been safely taken into custody. The Manitoba RCMP thanks the public and media for their assistance," reads a Manitoba RCMP news release confirming the arrest.
Tardiff was described as armed and dangerous by police before his capture and was believed by police to still be in the Flin Flon, Creighton or Denare Beach areas.
Police were called shortly after midnight January 1 to Creighton’s Main Street, with reports of a shooting near the Creighton Community Centre. Officers from both Flin Flon and Creighton detachments responded and found a 24-year-old male from Cranberry Portage who had been shot - the man was taken to Flin Flon General Hospital in stable condition.
As officers combed the nearby area for the suspect, another call came in about an hour later notifying police of a second shooting in Flin Flon at a home on Bellevue Avenue.
On arrival, police found two people had been shot at the home - a 26-year-old woman from Flin Flon and a 47-year-old man from The Pas. The man was transported to hospital in stable condition, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The victim has been identified as Catherine Morin, originally from Denare Beach. A Gofundme has been set up to donate money to Morin’s family to help cover funeral expenses.
RCMP secured the scene at Bellevue Avenue, along with a portion of the road in front of the house, in the aftermath of the violence. The road was still blocked off as of Monday afternoon.
The homicide is Flin Flon’s first since last year, when RCMP laid a murder charge in relation to the death of a 10-month-old infant several months earlier.
Tardiff was named as a suspect not long after the second shooting.
“Officers at the scene confirmed that both incidents were targeted and linked to one suspect,” reads an RCMP statement issued about the case Jan. 3.
Search efforts for Tardiff fanned out across Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach, including officers from both Flin Flon and Creighton detachments and help from outside units from both provinces. Local police received assistance from the Manitoba RCMP Emergency Response Team, Police Dog Services, Major Crime Services, Forensic Identification Services and Air Services, as well as the Saskatchewan Critical Incident Response Team.
Search efforts were centred around several areas, but throughout Saturday afternoon, most police resources were deployed at Aspen Grove. Around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Manitoba RCMP had issued a statement advising the public to avoid the area, also advising people to avoid sharing photos of the police presence online, saying doing so could jeopardize the safety of police on scene.
"Expect a heavy police presence as officers work to safely resolve the situation. Do not post or share photos of officers on social media," read a statement from an RCMP spokesperson.
At 6 p.m. Saturday night, a Manitoba RCMP spokesperson confirmed to The Reminder that after area searches, Tardiff had not been found at Aspen Grove and the pursuit of the suspect would continue.
"Xander Tardiff was not located in the Aspen Grove area of Flin Flon. The Manitoba RCMP thanks residents for their understanding and collaboration during the search," reads a statement from Manitoba RCMP issued early that evening.
Reports came of increased police presence in Denare Beach after nightfall Saturday, but police eventually returned to Aspen Grove, where according to eyewitness reports, RCMP statements and video obtained by The Reminder, Tardiff was found, arrested and escorted by police from the complex shortly before midnight.
Tardiff faces a slew of charges in relation to both shootings, issued for both Manitoba and Saskatchewan jurisdictions. The suspect faces a second-degree murder charge in Morin’s death, along with charges of discharge firearm with intent, reckless discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm while prohibited. Tardiff also faces two charges, discharge a firearm with intent and possession of a firearm while prohibited, relating to the incident in Creighton.
The fact that the incidents happened in two different provinces means that Tardiff will have two separate court dates, one for each set of charges. Tardiff will make his first court appearance in The Pas Provincial Court Jan. 4, relating solely to the charges for Flin Flon, and will have a second appearance in La Ronge Provincial Court for the two counts from the Creighton shooting.
None of the charges have been proven in court.