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Vanderhoof RCMP says they have a suspect in custody after a gunman took shots at the detachment on Thursday.
The Vanderhoof RCMP responded to reports of an active shooter with a long gun targeting the RCMP Detachment in the 100 Block of Columbia Street and who then continued to drive around the area. The public was asked to stay inside or to shelter in place.
An emergency lockdown had been declared at 12:16 p.m. and was lifted a bit more than an hour later when RCMP made the arrest. A brief pursuit was initiated, during which a police vehicle was rammed. The suspect was then arrested without incident.
Although the public was originally asked not to share photos or videos of the police operation after the emergency alert was issued, images of the arrest began circulating on social media.
Residents in the community 100 kilometres west of Prince George had been warned to lock their doors and windows and, if possible, do not leave their homes or businesses.
RCMP had been looking for an armed man with a long rifle who was reportedly driving in a white Ford pickup with extended cab.
In an email to parents sent on Thursday afternoon, School District 57 acting superintendent Cindy Heitman said the district enacted its "school threat assessment protocol" when the alert was issued.
"This was a precautionary measure only as the incident was not in our area and was not one that posed a significant risk to students or staff," Heitman wrote. "However, as part of our ongoing committment to ensuring a safe learning environment, we take all issues that may affect school safety seriously."
The localized police Emergency Alert that was issued in Vanderhoof has now been rescinded. The recommended lockdown is over and businesses and schools have been told to return to normal operations.
Roadblocks that had been put in place are currently being dismantled and the RCMP is thanking the public for their cooperation during this dynamic and unfolding event.
At this time there is nothing to indicate any further ongoing threats to the public said Corporal Madonna Saunderson, BC RCMP Media spokesperson
Fortunately there were no reported injuries to anyone during this event.
Vanderhoof RCMP continue to investigate the situation, anyone who was a witness to these events is asked to contact the Vanderhoof RCMP at 250-567-2222
DISTRICT PRAISES USE OF EMERGENCY ALERT
On Thursday afternoon, the District of Vanderhoof issued a statement asking anyone with information about the shooting to cooperate with the RCMP investigation, and praised the use of the Emergency Alert System to warn residents.
“Residents in Vanderhoof received an incredibly valuable warning about the incident through the BC Emergency Alert System. We are grateful that the alert system works and that because of the alert, residents knew to shelter in place and remained safe during the incident,” the district’s statement said. “These types of incidents are frightening and shocking to all of us. We understand these events can be challenging to deal with afterward.”
Anyone in need to support should go online to www.healthlinkbc.ca/resources, where they can find 24-hour phone counselling and online resources.
“Please, during these times, look out for and care for one another,” Mayor Gerry Thiessen said in the statement. “Be Kind, be well, and most importantly, be safe.”