RCMP urge bystanders to back off during police incidents

By Tanya Cronin
June 6, 2016 - 5:28pm Updated: June 9, 2016 - 11:09am

KAMLOOPS — Video has surfaced showing the dramatic exchange between a 29-year old man and Kamloops RCMP officers on Friday. 

Footage captured by a witness in the area shows the man swinging a hatchet at officers before one of them hits him with a taser. 

When the first taser hit, it had little impact, and officers were forced to the use the weapon again.

Video Removed. Contact "Viral Hog"

A violent man wielding a hatchet at two Kamloops RCMP officers. It was a tense encounter, and it was all captured on video. 

"When you're faced with a man allegedly trying to hack you with a hatchet and you're in a very public place, you have to make some very tough decisions there and use a non-lethal use of force that's not going to harm anybody in the public," says Cpl. Jodi Shelkie, Kamloops RCMP.

It happened at the bus loop near Northhills Mall. Video shot by someone waiting for a bus, shows the armed suspect threatening police repeatedly. One of the two officers points his gun, the other hits the man with a taser twice, he screams in pain but continues to rage on. 

"They were giving him instructions he needed to drop the hatchet and he wouldn't, they deployed a conducted energy weapon and it wasn't successful, they then pepper sprayed him, he dropped the hatchet and ran into Northhills mall, where a third police officer was coming in and confronted him and used the conducted energy weapon successfully."

Police were originally responding to a call of two men drinking in public. When they approached and advised the men to stop drinking, one cooperated but the other man became belligerent, he started yelling, pulled a hatchet from his backpack and began swinging.

"Normally we get a call there's a man who has an axe or hatchet and on our way there we have time to do a risk assessment, this just unfolded when they were speaking to a couple of men at a bus stop, literally they had to think on their feet, both police officers."

Video of the incident has been posted online, and gone viral. RCMP say when a police incident is unfolding, the public needs to keep their distance.

"In some situations we may not be able to use non-life threatening use of force in which case we would like to have the public as far away as possible, our first concern is keeping the public safe and ourselves safe, it's a lot easier to focus on what's happening if there aren't a lot of people around us."

While not comfortable going on camera, business owners in the area say it was a frightening experience and several locked their doors and kept customers inside. After 3 tries to eventually subdue him, police took the 29-year old man into custody and he now faces a list of charges.

"He's facing charges of causing a distrubance, assault, assault with a weapon and fleeing from police," says Cpl. Shelkie.


Man arrested after swinging hatchet at officers