'Best-case scenario': No injuries after major police response on Sunshine Coast
VANCOUVER -- Travellers aboard a ferry from the Lower Mainland to the Sunshine Coast Saturday morning encountered a surprising sight: heavily armed RCMP officers and vehicles from an Emergency Response Team.
The group had been called to join Sunshine Coast RCMP officers in their response to reports of a man with a gun inside a home in Secret Cove, northwest of Sechelt.
Staff Sgt. Poppy Hallam, detachment commander for the Sunshine Coast RCMP, said her detachment received a call from a person inside the residence shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday.
"His behaviour gave the caller concern for public safety," Hallam said. "The caller was actually inside that residence with that male, and fled to a neighbour's."
She said the two people involved were both residents of the home, and no one else was inside at the time.
Because the man reportedly had a long gun, the detachment sent "all available resources" to the scene, Hallam said. When they were unable to make contact with the man, they evacuated neighbouring homes and called in the ERT resources from the Lower Mainland.
The goal was to establish a secure containment area and minimize risk to police officers and the general public, Hallam said.
"When we get a call like that and we're unable to establish any type of contact with the subject, it's concerning for us because we're not sure what the subject is doing and where their exact location is, or where a firearm is," she said. "So, it ups the risk for us, and we act accordingly."
Eventually, shortly before 9:30 a.m., the 39-year-old man came out of the home and was taken into custody, Hallam said. No one was injured in the incident.
Hallam described the outcome as a "best-case scenario," adding that she knows it may have seemed like police had a lot of extra resources responding that weren't essential to resolving the situation. She said that's a reflection of the risk inherent in firearms calls.
As of 1 p.m. Saturday, the man remained in custody, and Hallam said she expected her detachment would be recommending firearms-related charges against him.
Officers remained at the home Saturday afternoon, securing any weapons that remained inside and awaiting approval to execute a search warrant on the property.
Hallam said evacuated residents were welcome to return to their homes, as there was no longer any threat to public safety.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Jen St. Denis