A man was taken in custody and is facing a firearms charge following an incident last weekend in Halfmoon Bay involving the RCMP’s Integrated Emergency Response Team (ERT).
Sunshine Coast RCMP were alerted to a situation unfolding at a townhouse complex on Mercer Road in Secret Cove at 2:05 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18.
“The caller reported a male inside a residence with a firearm and his behaviour gave the caller concern for public safety,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Poppy Hallam said in a statement.
The person who made the 911 call from inside the dwelling fled to a neighbour’s residence.
Sunshine Coast RCMP contained the area, but were unable to establish contact with the man. As a precaution, “all available resources” on the Sunshine Coast were deployed, as was the Lower Mainland Integrated Emergency Response Team – which arrived on the first ferry that morning.
Hallam said there was some delay since the ERT had to wait for the first ferry, but added the Sunshine Coast RCMP were able to manage the situation.
Neighbours were evacuated and by 9:25 a.m. the man was taken into custody without incident. He was released that evening and is facing charges of uttering threats and unsafe storage of a firearm. An investigation is ongoing to determine whether an offence occurred, and there is no public safety risk. The people involved in the dispute are new Sunshine Coast residents and the suspect is not known to police, RCMP said.
At least 15 emergency response vehicles were involved in the incident, said Hallam, acknowledging that people were “shocked” by the police presence.
“We don’t have to call the ERT team very often, but just the location, the weather, there were concerns around a long gun – we have to take extra precaution. And the fact that we could not make contact with this person ups our risk assessment because we don’t know what we’re dealing with,” Hallam told Coast Reporter.
“Without that we’re not able to determine what’s going on, exactly, so we have to plan for worst-case scenario and that’s what we did – and had the best-case outcome.”
Hallam said they were also dealing with other calls for service at the time, making for an extremely busy Saturday morning, with at least 18 Sunshine Coast police officers responding to calls, in addition to the ERT team.
As the Halfmoon Bay investigation was underway RCMP were called to another situation unfolding on O’Shea Road in Gibsons, involving a man in medical distress. Once they arrived at the residence, the RCMP recovered a stolen vehicle and arrests were made. One man remains custody.