Shooting precedes holiday calm

The relative absence of offenses that occurred in Vanderhoof during the holidays was preceded by a shooting on Dec. 20, 2012.

Few criminal offenses occurred in Vanderhoof over the holidays.

On New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2012, four Vanderhoof RCMP officers patrolled the district’s roads and highways, but no drunk-driving arrests were made. A few house parties were among the only reports made to the Vanderhoof RCMP detachment during one of the most celebrated nights of the year, explained Corporal Wade Harvey.

“In general, over the holidays, it was relatively peaceful,” said Harvey.

On Dec. 14, between eight and nine RCMP officers and a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement unit organized a large stationary check stop in the district and pulled over many vehicles, but no impaired drivers were discovered.

“Maybe the message – not to drink and drive – is finally getting out to a degree,” said Harvey.

Unfortunately, the relative absence of offenses during the holidays was preceded by a tragic incident that occurred in Vanderhoof on Dec. 20, when an 18-year-old female was mortally wounded by a gun shot.

At approximately 4:39 p.m., Vanderhoof RCMP were informed that a female with a life-threatening gun-shot wound was being transported to the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia, where she underwent surgery but later died from her injuries.

Due to an ongoing criminal investigation by the North District Major Crime Unit, RCMP members are unable to disclose finer details about the shooting, which came only five days before Christmas.

“The North District Major Crime Unit has confirmed that this tragic shooting was an isolated incident and the public is not at risk,” Constable Lesley Smith, media relations officer for the North District RCMP, said in a statement on Dec. 24, 2012.

Investigators are speaking to all individuals involved in the incident, added Smith.

Out of respect for families affected by the fatal shooting, the RCMP isn’t releasing names at this time.

“The Vanderhoof RCMP would like to thank the community, friends and family for their cooperation during such a difficult time,” Harvey said on Thursday, Jan. 3.

Overall in 2012, Vanderhoof RCMP responded to 4,000 calls for service, the same number as the larger community of Burns Lake, and 400 more than Fort St. James, which typically receives more service calls than Vanderhoof, explained Harvey. Both communities employ more RCMP officers than Vanderhoof.

The holding cells at the Vanderhoof RCMP detachment lodged 550 prisoners in 2012 for offenses ranging from disturbances, to aggravated assault, to public intoxication.

The RCMP is asking anyone with information regarding unsolved crimes, ongoing investigations or other specific incidents to contact the Vanderhoof detachment at 250.567.2222. To remain anonymous, the RCMP advises people to call Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.TIPS (8477).