Three suspects in custody after shots fired at police in West Kelowna
Media update from Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday:
The woman who was one of three people arrested following a high speed chase on the Westside earlier today is being treated for injuries at Kelowna General Hospital, confirmed Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon.
McKinnon also confirmed there were shots fired by police officers during the chase that started in West Kelowna on Boucherie Road and carried on along Westside Road to Swan Lake near Vernon.
McKinnon added that New Westminster Police will handle the internal investigation into the incident, standard procedure in B.C. now for an independent oversight when shots are fired or a suspect is injured during an arrest.
McKinnon would not amplify on what the suspect's injuries are or if they are connected to the discharge of a police officer's weapon, or how many shots police fired.
He would also not confirm or deny that the suspects are associated with any gangs, only saying that it is scary business anytime police officers are shot at.
Two men and a woman are in police custody following a high speed chase that put Okanagan Mounties in the line of fire.
Just after 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, police were attempting to make a routine stop of a green Dodge Caravan on Boucherie Road, when the driver accelerated away, setting off a violent chain reaction.
"They fired shots at the (West Kelowna) RCMP, then the suspects fled down Westside Road," said Const. Kris Clark.
That started a drama-fraught chase that led police from West Kelowna, Kelowna and the North Okanagan detachments all the way to Swan Lake in Vernon.
Although these reports have yet to be confirmed, it's been said the danger level reached an apex when a North Okanagan police vehicle heading south on Westside Road from Vernon, turned around and waited for the suspects to come up behind him.
Suspects allegedly shot a number of rounds from what was assessed to be a "high-powered rifle" at that same RCMP vehicle, hitting it as they drove forward. When they stopped firing bullets, they continued on in an attempt to run that police vehicle off the road.
In their flight from police, suspects also ran over two spike belts set out in separate locations and kept moving ahead with flat tires.
They were able to switch vehicles twice, Clark confirmed, noting that the Caravan was exchanged first for a red pickup truck then a black pick up truck. What's unclear is how those vehicles came into their possession.
Ultimately, the vehicle went off the road, and the suspects who fled on foot were apprehended.
No police were injured and the suspects were taken into police custody. Their condition is yet unclear.
Further details to follow.
Note: The following information has not been confirmed by police:
- Initial reports are that no RCMP were injured in the near-one hour-long pursuit of suspects.
- Pursuit started around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday when shots were fired hitting two unmarked police vehicles in West Kelowna. Chase of green or grey Dodge Caravan mini-van continued along Boucherie Road in West Kelowna, across Hwy 97 to Westside Road. Its back window had been shot out when suspects fired at police.
- Two vehicles were stolen along the way on Westside Road: a red Dodge Dakota pickup and then a black pickup.
- One police vehicle heading south on Westside Road turned around and waited for suspect vehicle to come up behind him.
- Suspects shot many rounds of a "high-powered rifle" at that RCMP vehicle, hitting it and then attempted to run that police vehicle off the road several times.
- Suspect vehicle ran over two spike belts set out in separate locations but continued on flat tires.
- As members' lives were in jeopardy. RCMP gave permission to "take whatever action necessary" to stop the suspects.
- Suspects passed roadblock at north end of Westside Road, headed east along Old Kamloops Road and turned south onto Hwy 97 heading toward Vernon.
- They abandoned the truck at Swan Lake and took to foot. Three suspects, two men and one woman, were quickly apprehended.
- Police continue to process the crime scene from Boucherie Road in West Kelowna, along the entire length of Westside Road where two vehicles were abandoned and others stolen, to Swan Lake north of Vernon. Suspect vehicles were photographed where they were abandoned. Firearms were seized.
- Abandoned vehicles are staying where they were left until Serious Crimes can attend and process the scene. Westside Road is closed at La Casa Resort until scene can be processed by Serious Crimes unit.