Man, child injured during officer-involved shooting; B.C.'s police watchdog investigating
B.C.'s police watchdog says it's investigating an officer-involved shooting that sent a man and a child to hospital over the weekend.
Mounties in Merritt say were trying to stop a truck Sunday that was believed to have stolen property on a flat-deck trailer. Just before 4 p.m., officers tried to pull the truck over but the driver fled from police.
The team spotted the truck again at about 5:30 p.m., but this time without the trailer. Police used a spike belt, and while the vehicle initially stopped, the driver eventually continued, and allegedly fired gunshots at officers. Police were seen collecting shell casings from the area on Monday.
After driving with blown out rear tires for several minutes, the driver eventually came to stop on Highway 8 near Snake Road and Highway 97C.
Merritt resident Kelly Prosper was visiting his uncle with his three young children when the truck stopped in front of the yard. Prosper said he saw a gun in the driver’s hand.
“I was terrified," he said.
According to Prosper, the driver got out of the vehicle and opened fire on the police officers pursuing him. He estimated roughly 200 rounds went off in a span of three minutes.
“We hit the ground. There were bullets flying everywhere," he said.
Prosper assumes the suspect had an automatic gun. The bullets flew just metres away from his kids, aged seven, eight, and 12.
“I didn’t know what to do. I ran and grabbed my kids and put them inside. My other son was in the field because he hid behind a tractor.”
B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office said a man in his 40s and his 11-year-old child were inside the truck. The IIO said the man suffered at least one gunshot wound. The child was also seriously hurt, but was seen walking towards police with his hands up once the shootout ended.
“We’re not exactly sure how his injuries were caused,” sid Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the IIO. “His injuries are not life threatening, nor are the adult male’s.”
Police say nobody else was hurt. The IIO is now investigating to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the two injuries.
The IIO is asking anyone with information about the incident to call its witness tip line at 1-855-446-8477.