Old Massett man facing seven charges after gas bar incident last weekend

  • Sep. 12, 2008 5:00 p.m.

Quinten Baker of Old Massett was in Masset provincial court Wednesday morning (Sept. 10) to face seven charges stemming from an incident at the Kithlaigaa gas station. Police were called to the gas station Saturday afternoon after a man allegedly threatened to blow it up by flicking a lighter at a gas pump nozzle. A passerby who tried to intervene, Noel White, was struck on the head with a rock and seriously injured. Mr. Baker, who has been held in custody since he was arrested Saturday, has been charged with aggravated assault, two counts of arson, two counts of uttering threats, mischief and failing to comply with a condition. He was also appearing in court on four previously-laid charges: having a weapon while attending or on his way to a public meeting, two counts of failing to comply with a condition, and contravening a summons. Mr. Baker is now being held in a correctional facility off-island. His next appearance has been set for Oct. 9, and he will be able to appear through a video system which was installed in the Masset courthouse in late August. Meanwhile, Haida Nation vice-president Arnie Bellis said he just happened to arrive at the gas bar two minutes after the incident took place and praised the Old Massett residents who managed to prevent anyone else getting hurt. “It was a terrifying experience for those people there but the community reacted very quickly, with community members restraining him,” he said. Mr. Bellis said Old Massett held a well-attended public meeting Monday night (see separate story, below) to talk about the problems caused by drug dealers and drug users. Some residents suggested that the village council look into banishing people, while others suggested that council apprehend the houses of known drug dealers. Mr. Bellis said the illegal drug problem is an island-wide one and should be addressed at the protocol table, where all the islands community leaders meet. “This type of behaviour is not acceptable in Old Massett and it should not be acceptable in Masset or Port Clements or Queen Charlotte,” he said. “If you are dealing drugs in our towns, you are not welcome here.” Mr. Bellis said the Healthy Communities group knows almost everybody who is selling drugs on Haida Gwaii, and said there are about 50 known dealers living here. Their wares include marijuana, crack, cocaine and ecstasy, he said. It is up to everyone living here to make sure they are informed about drug issues, he said, and he also urged users to seek help and take responsibility for their part in the cycle of violence and despair caused by drugs. “People have got to figure out what’s going on,” he said. “People don’t wake up in the morning to go to work to make an honest day’s living to end up terrorized.”