Saddle Lake question release of Ashmont man who made threats; RCMP and SPERD up safety measures

RCMP, St. Paul School Division members and Saddle Lake Cree Nation band members met on Monday night to make plans to ensure the safety of children and the Nations. Image credit: Saddle Lake Cree Nation News, Events and Information.

Saddle Lake Cree Nation is looking for reassurances that the man accused of uttering threats to “shoot up” Ashmont School, Saddle Lake First Nation and Whitefish Lake First Nation will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and question his release, the Nation stated in a press release.

Andrew Sydora, 70-years-old, from Ashmont, was arrested on Sunday and was charged with three counts of uttering threats.

He was released with conditions.

In a press release from Monday, Saddle Lake Cree Nation said they view the threats as an act of terrorism and called on the RCMP and St. Paul School Division to ensure the safety of the Nations and children.

“Saddle Lake Cree Nation is treating the threat to the Nation and our children who attend the Ashmont School and both Saddle Lake Cree Nation along with Whitefish Lake First Nation view this as an act of terrorism. We believe this is an urgent matter and expect the RCMP and SPERD to take all necessary action to ensure the safety of our Nation and children,” the release stated.

“We want reassurances that this offender will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This issue is one that runs deeper in society. We question how come he was released immediately without notice to our Nation.

“Saddle Lake Cree Nation and Whitefish Lake First Nation have met to determine courses of actions that will ensure the safety of our Nation members and our children. We require assurances that there is no threat to public safety in Ashmont School and in both Saddle Lake and Whitefish Lake. The safety of our kids and members is of paramount importance.”

School buses will not be running at Saddle Lake Cree Nation or Whitefish Lake First Nation until Sydora appears in court on Thursday in St. Paul.

On Monday, meetings were held at both Nations with RCMP and St. Paul School Division superintendent Glen Brodziak to address the safety concerns of residents.

RCMP Cpl. Ron Bumbry, media relations, said police will continue to work with the First Nations communities and an RCMP member has been present at Ashmont School.

“Until the first court proceeding which would be on Thursday, November 7, a member will be present at the school each day while school proceedings are going on as a result of some of the concerns that were brought to our attention from both the First Nations,” he said.

Bumbry said the investigation has determined that the incident was not terrorist-related and the accused does not have any type of terrorist ideologies.

“Any types of complaints regarding threats are taken seriously and charges are laid where applicable. As a result in this particular case, once the threats were brought to our attention after being posted on social media first, we did act on it. Again, public safety is our highest priority. We do continue to encourage the public to come forward if there are any concerns for any type of public safety issues and not to put them out there on social media before contacting the police,” he said.

St. Paul School Division superintendent Glen Brodziak said parents and residents acted absolutely appropriately and extra precautions are being taken at Ashmont School.

“We will, of course, lock our doors if need be. We will have our doors manned so that there will be someone at every door. We will bring in extra staff as needed. We will watch the loading and unloading areas,” he said.

“Their statement is very accurate in that that is our duty. And we’re going to consult with the Nations more to say, what is it that’s going to help our children be safe and their children.”