Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mounties Exchanged Gunfire with B.C. Suspect Who Escaped into Forest

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mounties Exchanged Gunfire with B.C. Suspect Who Escaped into Forest

Article excerpt

Police, B.C. man exchanged gunfire before he fled

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SLOCAN CITY, B.C. - The confrontation that led to the lockdown of an entire community in British Columbia's southeast included an exchange of gunfire between police and a male suspect, says a senior Mountie.

Peter DeGroot, 45, is armed and dangerous and known to police, RCMP Chief Supt. Frank Smart said Friday, after an overnight search for the man who escaped into a forest west of Slocan, B.C.

A crisis negotiator, emergency response team, police dogs, a helicopter and a tactical-armoured vehicle are being used to try and find DeGroot, and police have seized a number of firearms from the man's home, said Smart.

Residents are also being told to stay in their homes.

Smart provided fresh information Friday about the incident that began a day earlier in a dispute between two people.

"During that investigation it's alleged that a male suspect, armed with a rifle, shot at police who were on scene investigating," said Smart. "The male suspect fled into the woods when police returned fire."

A containment zone was later set up in the area, and Smart said members of the emergency response team evacuated homes and extracted an officer who was unable to safely leave the scene.

"To do this, we utilized our RCMP tactical armoured-vehicle within the containment zone overnight," he said.

RCMP have asked that the movements of police not be discussed on social media to ensure the safety of officers and the public.

"We continue to assess the risk to public safety and commit to update the public when the situation changes," said Smart, adding the lockdown will continue until police can resolve the situation.

Early on Friday, a lone RCMP cruiser with its lights flashing ensured that nobody was allowed into the community.

People leaving the area were informed they would not be allowed back in until the gunman was found. …

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