UPDATE: The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identity of a man who died following an incident at the offices of the Bridge River Indian Band on Wednesday as 22-year-old David Allan Patrick James of Lillooet.
LILLOOET, B.C. – A man suspected in a violent assault at a First Nation band office in the British Columbia Interior is dead after an attack that injured 10 people.
Michaela Swan with the Interior Health Authority said late Wednesday that five of the patients remain in hospital, two of whom are in critical condition, two in serious condition and one dealing with non-life-threatening injuries.
“All the patients will remain in hospital until they’re medically cleared to go home. It’s really hard to speculate at this point in time,” she said.
“There certainly are some pretty serious injuries involved and we’re monitoring the situation closely.”
Swan said five other patients have been released from hospital.
RCMP say they were called just before 8:30 a.m. to a report that a man with a weapon and found the suspect already restrained, but he was unconscious and unresponsive.
“RCMP members arrested the male but were unable to transport him as he became unconscious and unresponsive,” police said in a news release.
Police say they immediately started resuscitation efforts, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
An emergency worker who didn’t want to be named says the man apparently attacked one person with the hammer, and when others in the office went to help they were also beaten.
Chief Susan James said, concerning the tragic event, that her immediate concern is ensuring the families involved in this tragedy are looked after, first and foremost.
“A number of our office staff are being stabilized and transferred to other hospitals. Our attention now will be on the healing work we need to do. This tragedy has put our community into shock.”
The Lillooet RCMP has called the Independent Investigations Office of BC to investigate.
The office said it was notified of the incident about 11:30 a.m. and its investigators were slated to arrive later Wednesday, when they would examine the actions of officers related to the man’s death.
“Standard investigative activities include locating and interviewing any witnesses and collecting evidence from the scene,” said a news release.
The office said it would not provide any details about the man who died while in custody, nor release further updates.
It said the RCMP will maintain jurisdiction over the investigation into the initial attack by the man.
Bridge River is a tiny aboriginal town located about nine kilometres northwest of Lillooet.
~ with files from Paula Baker