Residents of York Landing warned to stay indoors as RCMP search for fugitives

“We hope for a quick and safe conclusion to this entire situation.”

James Favel is co-founder of Winnipeg-based Bear Clan Patrol.

RCMP in Manitoba say they continue to scour a small, northern Manitoba community for two B.C. homicide suspects.

The search for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, moved southwest to York Landing from Gillam Sunday after a tip from volunteers with the Bear Clan Patrol (BCP).

“The fact that we made a sighting is just incredible,” said BCP co-founder James Favel of his team of Winnipeg-based volunteers that flew up north Friday.

“They happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

But so far there have been no arrests in York Landing, an isolated community of about 400 people.

Manitoba RCMP tweeted Monday: “All efforts are being made in York Landing to apprehend two individuals matching the description of the suspects.”

Police also reminded residents to stay inside behind locked windows and doors.

“This is a fluid situation,” Garrison Settee, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, added in a statement.

“Everyone wants this to end today in a safe and controlled manner. Our prayers are with the residents of York Factory.”

The suspects are charged with second-degree murder of a British Columbia botany instructor and are suspects in the homicides of two international tourists in northern B.C. earlier this month.

“We are not trying to involve ourselves in the search,” said Favel. “We are there to secure the village.”

He said Bear Clan has almost 1,600 volunteers in Winnipeg and operates chapters in 51 communities nationwide, with nine part- and full-time employees. It is an indigenous-led group that promotes safety and security in inner-city neighbourhoods.

Meanwhile, Chief Walter Spence of Fox Lake Cree Nation outside Gillam expressed support for the people of York Landing.

“We hope for a quick and safe conclusion to this entire situation,” he said in a statement.  “As the challenging work of locating the two suspects continues, our community members and volunteers are exhausted and fatigued.

“The ongoing stress of the large police,  military, and media presence in the community is starting to take its toll, and our community members look forward to a return to normalcy.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the RCMP major crime tipline at 1-877-543-4822.

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