After a six-hour stand off Thursday, RCMP arrested a man who had barricaded himself inside the Chase branch of the RBC Royal Bank Canada.
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk reports that the 58-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody about 11 p.m. Thursday.
The incident began at 4:26 p.m. when Chase RCMP responded to a hold-up alarm from the bank.
According to the police scanner, the suspect walked into the bank, lit a cigarette and announced that he had a bomb before making himself comfortable in the manager’s office chair.
It was reported that none of the bank employees recognized the man who was described as wearing a grey sweater and blue baseball cap.
“On police arrival, witnesses stated that they had been ordered by the man to leave the bank and reported that the man was holding what appeared to be a bomb,” stated Moskaluk in a news release. “The man was also seen with a knife and a handgun.”
Residents watched as Chase RCMP, along with special enforcement units including the Emergency Response Team from Kamloops, Police Dog Services, and the Explosives Disposal Unit out of BC RCMP headquarters, filled up their small town, positioning themselves throughout the downtown core and cordoning off the area surrounding the bank.
A small camp-like area was formed in the Shuswap Market parking lot, where bystanders watched as SWAT teams put on their gear and got themselves prepped.
By six o’clock many of the surrounding businesses had been asked to close down for the day while others did so voluntarily.
Many of the Chase streets were blocked by a maze of yellow tape, making it difficult for some people to find their way back to their homes. One officer stated police were unaware where the alleged gunman was inside the building; they were simply making sure no one would get shot.
Police also received permission to use the inside of the local Canada Post office as a base.
Officers could be seen sneaking behind buildings, residences and rooftops, trying to find the best angles to see inside the bank.
Phone conversations between RCMP negotiators and the man throughout the evening were successful in convincing him to come out about 11 p.m. As he opened the door, police could be heard yelling for him to take off his shirt, as he was suspected of having a bomb strapped to him. He complied after a few moments. Then more shouting and a loud shot could be heard.
“When the man walked out of the bank, ERT members instructed the man in the manner in which would facilitate a safe arrest,” states Moskaluk. “The suspect was initially compliant with instruction; however then continued to approach the officers and repeatedly told officers to shoot him. Armed with both lethal and less lethal-force option weapons, RCMP ERT members utilized a less lethal round, which permitted them to approach and bring him to the ground without further incident.”
Reports from the scene indicate a beanbag shot from a shotgun was used.
Upon arrest, police report that the man had sustained self-inflicted non-life-threatening injuries and was transferred to the waiting ambulance crew for assessment. He was then transported by police to hospital for further assessment.
Police searched the bank, confirming the man had been alone and the device he had been carrying was a mock-up resembling an IED or improvised explosive device. Investigators also found a knife and gun, and confirmed that the firearm was a pellet gun that closely resembled a semi-automatic handgun.
The investigation continues with charges under consideration. Police say the man, who is from the “central Interior,” has a previous criminal record. He was still in hospital care as of Friday morning.
In the news release, Chase RCMP expressed their gratitude and support for the staff of the bank for their handling of the situation, victim assistance staff, community agencies, surrounding businesses and the public for their cooperation.