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VICTORIA – A Mill Bay man was arrested at gunpoint on Friday after being seen brandishing a knife and walking through a crowd at the Duncan Christmas Kick-Off celebration.

According to North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, police received reports of a man wielding a "large knife" and walking through a group of teens at the Christmas event. Officers who were at the holiday kick-off then searched the area on foot and located the man, 34.

Police say that once the man was spotted, he was still holding the knife and was "displaying aggressive behavior." With concerns for public safety, Mounties say that the officers at the scene drew their firearms and pointed them at the man in order to arrest him. Once guns were drawn, the officers were able to arrest the man without incident.

"A witness to the arrest stated, 'Isn’t that a bit excessive?' referring to the officer’s handgun," said Staff Sgt. Chris Swain of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP. 

"This officer made split second decisions to protect others and himself, and succeeded without injury to anyone," said Swain. "You will see us in a visible way, carrying firearms at public events such as this, Remembrance Day and other events for community safety and security."

Police are reminding the public that if they see an arrest taking place, especially if a firearm is involved, to keep a safe distance from the scene.

"The duties of a police officer can be dangerous and I would like to remind everyone that if you see an arrest taking place, or an officer with their firearm out, please keep back at a safe distance and appreciate that you may not know all the details leading up to the arrest," said Sgt. Trevor Busch, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP.

"Our officers are invested in our community, we love to attend community events and give out candy canes, but ultimately we are there for your safety."