Staff initiated a Hold and Secure protocol at two Duncan-area schools Tuesday afternoon while police searched the Cowichan Lake Road area for a man with a knife.
“At 12:44 p.m. we received a call that a male had reportedly tried to injure himself with a knife,” confirmed North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Trevor Busch. “He then fled from his residence on foot.”
Busch said “out of an abundance of caution,” RCMP made the decision to flood the area with officers and to notify nearby institutions, which led to hold-and-secure orders at both Tansor Elementary and École Mount Prevost.
“Public safety is our primary focus,” Busch said. “In this case, that included the safety of the man involved, but also safety of everyone in the nearby vicinity, that is why we took no risks and advised nearby schools to keep children indoors.”
Officers from North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment’s frontline policing, general investigation section, Indigenous policing and community policing as well as Island District Traffic Services and police dog services all rushed to the area to help find the man.
Busch said investigators did not believe the man was a threat to anyone else and had no connection to any children attending school in the local area. Roughly an hour after the first call came in, the man was taken into custody.
School District 79 spokesperson Mike Russell said a Hold and Secure is different than a full lock-down in that during a Hold and Secure, staff ensure students are inside and the doors are locked, but life goes on as usual inside the school.
“The call was not in regards to the school, and at no time did the RCMP believe our students or staff were at risk, but the school did a Hold and Secure as a precaution,” Russell explained. “As soon as administration ensured the students were inside, this information was relayed to parents. The incident only lasted a short time before the RCMP concluded it and were able to inform our school. The Hold and Secure was lifted, and again, parents were notified.”