A B.C. man described a harrowing encounter with a rifle-toting man who allegedly raided his home in Campbell River on Thursday. Police say a suspect is in custody following an operation that shut down the area to traffic.
The homeowner, who requested anonymity to ensure his privacy following the ordeal, said he entered his house through the back sliding-glass door to find the place had been “ransacked” when an armed man confronted him.
“[The] person approached me from one of the bedrooms carrying a rifle and levelled it at me, and I ran out of the house,” he said. The resident then called the police, who cordoned off the neighbourhood.
Campbell River RCMP said in a statement that they responded to a report of someone who returned to his home at 11 a.m. to find that “items were strewn about in his living room.”
Hearing a noise, the homeowner called out, and a man “stepped into view and confronted the homeowner with a gun.”
Police said they closed down the street and set up a “containment” around the home. Residents living in the vicinity of the house were asked by police to remain indoors as the operation took place.
The local Mounties brought in “all available resources,” including a police dog and an RCMP drone. The RCMP Emergency Response Team was also on the scene, along with a negotiator.
Entering the home, the police arrested a suspect “without incident,” according to the RCMP statement. Police said they seized two rifles from the scene, with no injuries reported or shots fired.
Police described the suspect as a 24-year-old male with no known fixed address. He’s expected to appear in court on Friday morning to face charges including break and enter and pointing a firearm. The investigation, police said, is in its “very early stages” and involves the Major Crimes Unit.
Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk, a police spokesperson, said the public wasn’t endangered at any time and that “[a]ppropriate precautions were taken to ensure everyone’s safety.” Police also thanked residents for their patience during the incident.
They also reminded gun owners to “ensure their firearms are locked and ammunition is stored separately at all times.”
Earlier in the day, police closed the area to traffic. As the incident unfolded, Vlooswyk said that RCMP were going door-to-door asking people to stay inside.
An unmarked police van blocked the road, and police turned away residents who arrived at the checkpoint on foot, saying the cordon would be in place for an undetermined length of time. A dog handler in a khaki uniform was visible from about 50-100 metres past the cordon, along with numerous other police.
Ken Kuster, an area resident, was flagging cars to keep the traffic moving. He said that a construction worker was diverting cars for police by a nearby golf course earlier that day.
“I came around from the golf course way, and they had it blocked,” he said. “I came around this ways, asked them: ‘Can I even get in? My step-daughter’s in there.’ No.”
Kuster, who moved into the area in recent months, said that three weeks ago police were in the area with guns drawn.
Police targeted the same stretch of road in an operation last October, but released no details about that incident.