Dad bear-sprayed, window smashed by tire iron in Walmart parking lot dispute in Nanaimo

A parking lot dispute ended with bear spray being deployed and a window smashed in Nanaimo. The RCMP logo is seen outside the force's 'E' division headquarters in Surrey, B.C., on March 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A family was hit by bear spray and a car window was smashed in a dispute in a Walmart parking lot in Nanaimo, B.C., police say.

A man, his wife and their four children were in the parking lot around 12:45 p.m., on Monday, at the Woodgrove Centre.

The family was trying to park their truck and large boat when a dark-coloured SUV cut them off, police said.

“Both drivers got out of their respective vehicles and exchanged heated words,” Const. Gary O’Brien said.

“The interaction quickly escalated when the driver of the dark-coloured vehicle produced a can of bear spray and sprayed it at the other man.”

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After the spraying, the father grabbed a tire iron from his truck and smashed out a window on the SUV. The other driver then got in the SUV and drove off.

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The family, including the children who range in age from one to six, were “contaminated” by the bear spray and needed medical attention, police said.

Police are looking to identify the man who used the bear spray and took off.

“No (licence) plate was obtained for his vehicle,” O’Brien said. “This was a situation where if cooler heads had prevailed, this dispute could have been resolved without resorting to this level of violence.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

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