Man disarmed, potential hostage situation averted

A potential hostage situation ended peacefully in the District of Vanderhoof on Feb. 4, when an armed man was taken into custody by RCMP.

A potential hostage situation ended peacefully on Monday, Feb. 4, when an armed man was taken into custody by RCMP.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Vanderhoof RCMP, acting on third-hand information of a domestic dispute, attended a home where an intoxicated male was reportedly handling a firearm in the presence of a woman and numerous children.

The Prince George Emergency Response Team (ERT) was deployed to the scene after attempts to communicate with the man proved unsuccessful.

“It was the volatility of the situation,” said Sergeant Jason Keays of the Vanderhoof RCMP detachment.

“The male was armed, intoxicated and distraught and had the potential to hold the female and several young people hostage.”

At a distance from the home, an ERT negotiator contacted the man by phone and convinced him to disarm and surrender peacefully.

The man now faces two counts of pointing a firearm and one count of assault.

The incident, despite lasting at least six hours, is not being regarded as a standoff, said Keays.

“The reason this took the time that it did is due to the delicate nature of the situation. We would never rush into something as volatile,” said Keays.

To help resolve the situation, an undisclosed source provided information and specific equipment to Vanderhoof RCMP.

“That person knows who they are and I would like to thank them,” said Keays.

Unfounded rumors and “outlandish stories” surrounding the presence of black ERT tactical SUV’s in Vanderhoof swirled and multiplied until Tuesday, when RCMP released details about the incident.

“I’m dedicated to the community and, when possible, discussing events that take place in Vanderhoof,” said Keays.

“However, I can’t stress enough that it’s not healthy, or helpful, to start or spread rumors. This is a prime example.”