A man who was carrying a hatchet and a bow and arrow is in police custody after getting into an altercation with a security guard in Nanaimo.
Nanaimo RCMP were called to Brooks Landing shopping centre at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, March 17, after a man allegedly tried to shoplift from a supermarket there. Reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said police had already been looking for the suspect after several reports had been received about a man walking around carrying a bow and arrow.
“He got into a kerfuffle with security and we got called,” O’Brien said. “Several [officers] attended. They recognized him, they tried to take him into custody and the fight was on.”
More police arrived as those who were already on scene had the man on the ground and were attempting to handcuff him. A crowd had gathered and were “yelling and screaming,” O’Brien said.
During the arrest the man went limp, he said, and two of the officers, who have advanced first aid training, checked the suspect’s breathing and checked for possible injuries and monitored him until an ambulance crew arrived.
A witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said she did not see police provide first aid, and said the suspect was left face-down until firefighters and paramedics arrived.
“He woke up perfectly fine in the ambulance,” O’Brien said. “He was checked out at the hospital, released and he’s in cells.”
O’Brien said during the arrest the suspect was found to be carrying a bow and arrow, hatchet, brass knuckles, a quantity of suspected crystal methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
O’Brien said witnessing an arrest can sometimes be an unpleasant experience.
“There are times that people do not want to go to jail and, for the safety of the public, we have an obligation to arrest these people and apply force where necessary and we used what we felt was the appropriate amount of intervention against this person. There are no injuries to this individual,” O’Brien said. “People yelling and screaming at us just exacerbates the situation.”
He said someone had the “audacity ” to post publicly online that RCMP had shot the suspect and O’Brien said that was “very troubling” to officers.
“It was a violent struggle at one point … that person posed a threat to the public and had to be arrested,” he said.
The 32-year-old suspect remains in custody to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo, where he could face a range of charges that include possession for the purpose of trafficking, theft, resisting arrest, obstruction, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace.