Schools closed, stay inside order still in effect in Wiikwemkoong First Nation

WIIKWEMIKOONG -Schools are closed today in Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island as a stay-at-home order remains in effect while police continue to search for a person they believe to be “armed and dangerous.”

In a signed letter posted online Tuesday night, Chief Rachel Manitowabi of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory says council endorsed a recommendation from the Wiikwemkoong Board of Education to give all students a mental health day as the police investigation enters a second day.

Schools were placed in “hold and secure” Tuesday out of an abundance of caution based on advice from the Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service, but the board later deemed the situation safe enough to dismiss all students for the day.

Ontario Provincial Police issued an emergency alert Tuesday afternoon asking residents of the First Nation to stay inside, lock all doors and windows and notify police of any suspicious persons.

OPP said Tuesday they’re looking for 39-year-old Luke Naokeegijig, who is described as a six-foot-one male of average build, with long black hair, brown eyes and a moustache, last seen wearing black jeans and a camouflage sweater.

In a post on the Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service’s Facebook page Tuesday, Chief Scott Cooper said the person the OPP is searching for is not a threat to the public and that the community has been advised to seek shelter as a “safety and cautious measure.”

The provincial police force has not said why they believe the suspect is dangerous.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2022.

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