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Suspect arrested after paintballs fired at people outside Lethbridge supervised consumption site

WATCH ABOVE: Some are worried that the negative online rhetoric surrounding the supervised consumption site in Lethbridge could embolden people to behave more violently towards ARCHES staff and clients. This comes after a drive-by shooting assault with a paintball gun Saturday night. Public posts to online community pages range from complaints, to threats of bombs and shootings over frustration with the centre and its clientele. Emily Olsen reports.

A Lethbridge man has been arrested in connection with a drive-by paintball shooting at the supervised consumption services site (SCS) in Lethbridge on Saturday.

Police have charged 29-year-old Jesse John James Bulman, of Lethbridge, with three counts of assault with a weapon and one count each of possession of a weapon dangerous to the public and mischief to property.

Police said over the weekend paintballs were fired from a moving truck at multiple people outside the SCS.

Just after midnight, police allege a white Dodge truck drove past and someone fired multiple paintballs.

Two males were able to avoid being struck but a female staff member was hit multiple times in the leg, arm, torso and face. Police said the truck returned seconds later and fired additional paintballs.

READ MORE: Lethbridge police seek suspect vehicle after paintballs fired at people outside supervised consumption site

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“To think that things like that are happening here and people are driving by and literally have no respect for people or property… it’s just disgusting,” said James Francis, who had been working across the street from ARCHES for just over a week when the drive-by occured.

“I mean that’s the last thing we need. It makes you feel like you’re living in a big city, and Lethbridge is a pretty tight-knit community.”

ARCHES executive director Stacey Bourque says she’s seen some shocking comments online, both before and after the assault.

“People are encouraging other people to drive bulldozers through our building or throw grenades in here,” she said, “[or to] freeze the paintballs next time, or use real guns so that people are dead instead of just injured and terrified.”

“We don’t promote any kind of hate speech,” said Const. Ryan Darroch with the Lethbridge Police Service.

READ MORE: Rallies held ahead of motion on the future of Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site

Darroch said that although police are not actively hunting people down on social media, and that they would prefer not to spend their resources combing through “keyboard warrior” posts, anyone who chooses to share threats online “may find themselves the subject of a police investigation.”

Police said multiple tips from the public helped identify Bulman, who was arrested at his home on Sunday without incident. A paintball gun was also seized.

Bulman is currently in custody and is scheduled to make a court appearance in Lethbridge on Tuesday.

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