Sault police investigating firearms incident as weapons calls increase
Sault Ste. Marie Police are continuing to investigate a call about a man with a rifle in the area of Chapple Avenue and Albion Street.
Police have so far been unable to find the suspect or the weapon. Later the same night, officers were called to a home where someone had barricaded themselves inside. The incidents are part of a spate of violent crimes in the Sault and police are concerned.
"We have noticed a significant increase in recent months in the amount of significant calls for service," said Sault Ste. Marie Police spokesman Lincoln Louttit. "Those are weapons calls, firearms calls."
Louttit said police believe the weapons calls are tied to a specific criminal activity.
"(A) direct correlation to the increase is believed to be directly tied to the drug subculture, the selling and purchasing of controlled substances," he said.
City Coun. Matthew Shoemaker, whose ward encompasses the Chapple and Albion area, is expressing concern about the firearms incident.
"It is gravely concerning that police searched for and were unable to locate the person wielding a firearm in the area," said Shoemaker in a statement to CTV News. "I trust every effort was taken to ensure the safety of the area, but such calls are distressing for the entire area and should not be happening in our city."
Sault Ste. Marie Police said they do not believe the firearms incident is related to the call about a barricaded individual. Meantime, police said stepped up patrols of problem areas in the Sault will continue.