The RCMP’s watchdog is investigating after gunshots were exchanged and two people were injured, including a child, in a police pursuit near Merritt Sunday late afternoon, June 6, stemming from a stolen property file.
One man and one child, believed to be under the age of 12 years old, were taken to hospital following the chase while multiple scenes have been secured in anticipation of the arrival of the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO BC), noted an RCMP spokesperson in a news release Sunday night.
No one else was injured.
According to police, at about 3:50 p.m. on June 6, 2021 Merritt RCMP attempted to stop a white Ford F-350 truck with a flat deck trailer which was associated with a stolen property file. The vehicle fled from the officer, who then notified dispatch.
At around 5:30 p.m. the suspect vehicle was then discovered again five kilometers from Merritt on Highway 5A without its trailer, noted RCMP. Police deployed a spike belt and eventually the vehicle stopped, but then continued travelling again before coming to a stop on Highway 8 near Snake Road and Highway 97C.
“Throughout the incident gunshots were fired or were exchanged between the suspect(s) and police,” said RCMP.
“Ultimately two individuals were located inside the vehicle.”
The Merritt RCMP along with the Southeast District General Investigation Services are conducting a concurrent investigation into the initial vehicle stop.
The IIO BC is now investigating to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the two injuries. As the matter is now under investigation by the IIO BC, no further information will be released by police.
“Please note that all aspects and circumstances of this incident will be the subject of independent investigation and verification by the IIO BC,” said RCMP.
For more information about the IIO BC and media updates, you can visit their website at www.iiobc.ca.