The Village of Slocan appears to be under siege tonight as the Kootenay Boundary Regional RCMP are still searching for a suspect in the Slocan City area after it was reported by residents that gunshots were fired around 2 p.m. today.
Sgt. Darryl Little confirmed that the suspect is not in custody but will not release the man’s name.
“One shot was fired to the best of our knowledge. People are not being allowed back into Slocan City at this time. We believe the suspect fled into the bush on the west side of the river,” said Little adding that as far as he knows, no one has been injured.
RCMP are using Gravel Pit Road as a staging area as they set up a command post with more than 25 members including a containment team dressed in camouflage. Plain clothed police wore their bullet proof vests and an ambulance was on stand-by along with more than 10 marked and unmarked vehicles.
An RCMP helicopter out of Kelowna was in the area and brought in more resources to help out before departing at sunset. A Village of Slocan staff member was allowed to enter the area to deliver maps of the water plant to the RCMP. The RCMP were also interviewing residents.
While residents are not allowed to enter the area, many were parking their vehicles at pullouts north of town making the short walk through the forest to their homes as dusk fell.
The local school was locked down with students, teachers and a few parents inside while the RCMP responded to the call and residents returning home this evening were not allowed entry into the village off of Highway 6.
Initial witness reports say an argument between the suspect and the RCMP may have escalated. It is suspected that the man recently received an eviction notice.
Slocan resident David Badger said he lives two doors down from the suspect on Slocan West Road. He got a call at work saying he had to go home as his wife had heard what she thought were three shots fired in their neighbourhood. When he arrived home, he saw a police cruiser in front of his neighbour’s place with the driver’s side window smashed.
“It looked pushed out, not shot. I went closer to see if anyone was injured inside [the car] but there was no one in the car and there was no blood.”
According to Badger and resident Roy Burge the property where the suspect has been staying recently is “a mess.” The property does not belong to the suspect. “It had a shed for horses and cattle,” said Burge. “He drove his van in there and started piling up pallets around it. The place is an eye-sore.”
Badger added that he knows the man in question and this summer when there was a bear in the area the man came out with a gun.
Badger said the man has five cows and 25 chickens. “The SPCA has been called twice this year and the cops were there last week.”
Both men said the caves and ravines behind their properties would be a good hiding spot.
“If you wanted to hide, you couldn’t find a better place,” said Burge. “Go up there [pointing west to the hills and Valhalla Park] and nobody would ever find you.”
People will be advised through a media release once it is safe for them to return to their residences.