The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary say they’ve arrested a man wanted in connection with three shootings in the Conception Bay South area Thursday.
The hunt for 31-year-old Matthew Fowler lasted just a few hours and led to the closure of schools and other facilities across the northeast Avalon Peninsula.
Fowler’s arrest, tweeted by the RNC at 2: 26 p.m. came shortly after police issued an emergency alert telling people to shelter in place while they searched for an armed man.
He was taken into custody after a vehicle chase that ended on St. Thomas Line in Paradise.
Witnesses tell CBC News police deployed spike belts, which Fowler drove over, making contact with at least one marked RNC cruiser before being pinned between two unmarked police vehicles.
The RNC had a section of St. Thomas Line blocked off between Westport Drive and Paradise Road on Thursday afternoon.
Police initially said there were two people injured in separate shootings. In its emergency alert, the RNC said there were three shootings, but did not say where the third shooting was, or whether anyone was injured in it.
They did say they believe the shootings were targeted. Both men injured in the shootings are in hospital.
In a press release issued shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, the RNC said officers responded to a report of a man with a gunshot injury on Uplands Road, in the Chamberlains area of Conception Bay South, at 10: 25 a.m. The male suspect had fled the area, and the victim, who had serious injuries, was taken to hospital for medical attention.
At 11: 10 a.m., officers were called to St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s after another man showed up with a gunshot wound. According to the release, officers learned the man had been injured near Greeleytown Road, in the Foxtrap area of Conception Bay South.
At 1 p.m., said the RNC, officers responded to another report of a shooting on Peachytown Road in Conception Bay South.
The RNC said the investigation into all three shootings is ongoing and further updates will be provided. According to the RNC, there is no additional public safety concern related to the shootings.
A ‘frightening, scary day’
Fowler’s arrest was followed by a wave of reopenings across the region.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, which had placed all schools on the northeast Avalon in secure mode, tweeted at 2: 21 p.m. that police had advised them they could reopen the schools.
“Families should note, schools will be dismissing at their usual times, but there may be delays,” said the board in the tweet.
Among others, St. John’s and Paradise both reopened their facilities, and Metrobus cancelled its plan to take its buses off the road early.
Conception Bay South Mayor Darrin Bent said Thursday’s events were disconcerting and unnerving.
“Today has been a frightening, scary day for the residents of Conception Bay South from one end of town to the other as this incident unfolded,” he said.
He said his current focus is on the people impacted by the shootings.
Bent said the town will be meeting with the RNC about the shootings, and will offer whatever support it can to protect residents from future incidents. He said he doesn’t believe the incident is a reflection of the town.
“We’re glad that it’s over. We hope that we don’t see anything like this again. But we’re not naive enough to think that we’re immune from this happening again,” he said.