Kelowna RCMP said a nine-year-old girl suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries after she was struck by a discharged firework at an unsanctioned Canada Day gathering.
At approximately 11:20 p.m. on July 1, officers responded to a report of the child being hurt in City Park.
The girl, who was visiting the Kelowna area with her family, was treated at the scene and transported to the hospital for further medical assessment.
“The fireworks were found to have been discharged from inside a large unruly crowd, many of whom were youth illegally consuming alcohol in the park, which created challenges for investigating officers on scene,” Const. Solana Paré said in an emailed statement.
“The Kelowna RCMP is continuing to investigate the incident and any witnesses are encouraged to contact the Kelowna RCMP.”
A witness, who did not give her name, said she saw the whole thing.
“I looked behind me to look for my friend and my sister, and I saw this one girl get hit in the face and her arm with a firework,” the witness told Global News.
The unruly Canada Day crowds also threatened the safety of police officers, as some had bottles thrown at them.
Preliminary numbers show approximately 120 police calls for service in Kelowna that night, with many related to public intoxication and disturbances.
That’s twice the number of calls compared to a typical Thursday night. Several people were arrested.
“The RCMP would like to emphasize that public safety is of the utmost importance throughout the summer months when we see an increased influx of people in the City of Kelowna,” said Supt. Kara Triance, officer in charge of the Kelowna Regional Detachment.
“It is our priority to ensure the safety of area residents, visitors, as well as the police officers that serve our community. Lawlessness and criminal behaviour are not acceptable at any time and place, and will not be tolerated.”
If you have any information related to the fireworks incident on Canada Day, you are encouraged to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.
If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.crimestoppers.net or at 1-800-222-8477.
The Downtown Kelowna Association said the craziness seen on Thursday night is not a good representation of the downtown Kelowna community.
“That’s not what Kelowna’s about,” said Mark Burley, Downtown Kelowna Association’s executive director.
“It was a perfect storm of things happening yesterday with Canada Day and restrictions being lifted and things just accelerated from there.”
The City of Kelowna did not host official Canada Day events this year.
-With files from Darrian Matassa-Fung