Dozens of charges laid after Rocky Mountain House RCMP bear sprayed, assaulted during arrest

File / RCMP

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Nov. 5 after RCMP said a second arrest was made.

A man known to central Alberta RCMP is facing dozens of new charges connected with alleged assaults on officers during arrest attempts, while a second man has also been arrested in connection with the alleged crime spree.

It started on Oct. 24 in Rocky Mountain House, where police said a man reportedly robbed the Great Canadian Liquor store of several bottles of liquor and fled in a stolen Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck.

READ MORE: One year after armed robbery of central Alberta hotel, DNA helps Mounties make arrests

Three days later, an officer pulled over the same truck in the town’s Creekside neighbourhood. Two suspects were inside the vehicle, both of whom RCMP said resisted arrest.

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One Mountie was bear sprayed and both suspects fled, with one driving away in the Chevy.

READ MORE: Armed robbery suspects bear spray employee before fleeing police in Rocky Mountain House

Two days later, police tracked down one of the suspects. On Monday, a Rocky Mountain House RCMP officer spotted the Chevrolet Colorado on the Sunchild First Nation and watched as a man exited the truck.

The officer chased the suspect on foot, following him inside a home. Police said the man resisted being arrested again and assaulted the RCMP officer. Eventually, police got the man under control, but the man continued to be difficult by giving police a fake name after his arrest, RCMP said.

READ MORE: Mountie fires gun at reportedly stolen vehicle on First Nation, Alberta police watchdog probe ensues

The man was taken to the RCMP detachment in Rocky Mountain House.

Police laid 46 charges against 22-year-old Christopher Wickins-Pearse, of no fixed address. They are:

  • Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 (four counts)
  • Theft under $5,000
  • Breach of probation (16 counts)
  • Possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000 (five counts)
  • Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose (three counts)
  • Resist arrest (two counts)
  • Assaulting a peace officer
  • Assaulting peace officer with a weapon
  • Assaulting peace officer causing bodily harm
  • Administering noxious thing
  • Unauthorized operation of a motor vehicle
  • Break and enter with intent
  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Identity fraud
  • Unauthorized possession of a firearm (five counts)
  • Unauthorized possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle
  • Possession of a prohibited firearm with ammunition

At the time of his arrest, Wickins-Pearse was also wanted on warrants out of other jurisdictions.

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READ MORE: Police across Alberta see surge in idling vehicle thefts as temperatures drop

On Nov. 2, police identified, arrested and charged a second man who was allegedly involved in the liquor store robbery on Oct. 24.

Peter Gopher — 37 years old and also of no fixed address — is charged with: resisting a police officer, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and possession of a controlled substance. RCMP said he is also facing charges under the Traffic Safety Act.

Police said Wickins-Pearse and Gopher both remain in custody until their first court appearance in Rocky Mountain House on Nov. 7.

The Rocky Mountain House RCMP said it works to disrupt criminal activity in the western Alberta town, as well as the surrounding Clearwater County area, and on the Sunchild, O’Chiese, and Bighorn First Nations.

“The Rocky Mountain House RCMP Detachment will relentlessly continue to identify and pursue multi-jurisdictional repeat offenders and ensure they are brought to Justice,” Sgt. Jay Penner said.

Police said the second suspect has not been identified and the investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with any information is requested to contact the Rocky Mountain House RCMP.