Witnesses say loud sounds, flash bangs and tear gas were used to apprehend a suspect during a lengthy police standoff in the North Okanagan on Saturday night.
Caleb Vanderhoek said he was driving past the scene in downtown Enderby, B.C., near the Bull Pen liquor store on Cliff Avenue around 9 p.m. when he spotted several police cruisers.
He pulled over and decided to assist with traffic control for the next several hours.
“Over time, more police cars rolled in and then there were two SWAT trucks that rolled in and then the big armoured SWAT truck that pulled into the front liquor store side of the Bull Pen liquor store,” he told Global News.
“When the SWAT arrived it started to get louder, they put their sirens on, they were telling the guy to come outside and they just kept doing their sirens.”
Vanderhoek said residents who live in the mixed commercial-residential building were evacuated from the area as a precaution.
Police say alleged prolific offender Alex Boucher, 36, was trying to hide in an apartment building and had a warrant out for his arrest.
RCMP Const. Kelly Brett said the Police Service Dog Team and the Emergency Response Team were called to the scene.
After the arrival of both teams, numerous attempts were made using de-escalation techniques to have the male surrender peacefully, however were unsuccessful,” Brett said.
The Emergency Response Team then made entry to the unit using multiple distraction devices.
Brett confirmed tear gas was deployed.
Local resident Brad Oudman also went to investigate after hearing the commotion on the streets outside his home.
“As I was trying to go to sleep around 12:30 a.m. and I started hearing the loud speaker, the sirens, and the flash bangs,” he said.
“It’s surprising because we don’t often have the SWAT team in town, that’s for sure.”
Around 2:30 a.m., Vanderhoek said police decided to change tactics with the deployment of tear gas after hours of failed attempts to get the suspect to come out of the building.
“I heard from a couple of other witnesses that he came running out right after they deployed the tear gas,” he said.
“It’s definitely an experience, like once in a lifetime.”