A tense, nearly four-hour standoff at an apartment complex in Duncan came to a peaceful end on Wednesday evening.
The situation began around 4 p.m. when the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were contacted by someone with concerns about the safety of a friend after visiting the friend’s apartment to drop off some food. According to police, the visitor noticed some “unnerving behaviour” and the friend said they weren’t OK, at which point the adult son of the apartment resident yelled at the visitor to leave.
The homeowner was reported by some witnesses to be a 98-year-old woman, but police did not confirm this.
Police went to the residence in Shaughnessy Gardens on Cowichan Lake Road and attempted to make contact with the residents, but were unable to get inside.
“The members made a decision to back away from the house to not rile the agitated man anymore,” said detachment commander Insp. Chris Bear. “For the safety of all of those in the nearby area Cowichan Lake Road was blocked, and some nearby residents in an apartment were evacuated. The negotiators worked for almost three and a half hour to have the man exit the house on his own without success.”
The first and second floors of the three-floor building were evacuated as police cordoned off the area, blocking off a section of Cowichan Lake Road to all but local residents. Bystanders also indicated that the residents of the Cerwydden seniors facility next door to Shaughnessy Gardens were moved from the wing closest to the apartment building.
Over the course of the standoff, several more police in tactical gear arrived at the scene, along with an armoured vehicle.
Officers entered the apartment just before 8 p.m. and apprehended the suspect after a brief struggle. The man was taken to the nearby Cowichan District Hospital for treatment and a medical evaluation. His mother, the homeowner, also required medical assistance, but police say she suffered no injuries.
Police credited the friend of the homeowner for reporting the unusual behaviour.
“The complainant did the absolute proper thing in calling the RCMP in this situation,” said Vancouver Island RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau. “Their decision to immediately call police allowed two people in need of immediate medical attention to get necessary treatment.”
The tactical team left to the appreciative applause of bystanders. Investigators remained at the scene for some time after the incident, locating and seizing several knives and an unloaded gun.
The RCMP thanked building residents and members of the community for their patience during the situation. People from nearby complexes had offered lawn chairs, water and soft drinks to some of the displaced residents of Shaughnessy Gardens, and a BC Transit bus was brought to the scene to provide a place to rest as well.