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Two suspects at large after crime spree snarls Highway 1 traffic in Tri-Cities: RCMP

Click to play video: 'Two at-large following violent crime spree in the Tri-Cities'
Two at-large following violent crime spree in the Tri-Cities
WATCH: Two suspects remain at large following a violent crime spree that started at an auto dealership and spilled onto a major highway during Tuesday’s afternoon rush hour. Kristen Robinson has the latest. – Nov 23, 2022

Police are searching for two suspects after a crime spree caused significant delays on a major route through Coquitlam, B.C., during the afternoon commute Tuesday.

In a statement late Tuesday evening, RCMP said the incident began with an armed robbery at a car dealership near Lougheed Highway and Dominion Avenue in Port Coquitlam, and unfolded into “multiple scenes.”

RCMP is holding an update on the case Wednesday morning.

Click to play video: 'Large police incident in Coquitlam with ‘multiple scenes’'
Large police incident in Coquitlam with ‘multiple scenes’

Officers responded at about 3:40 p.m. for a report of a robbery involving firearms and four suspects.

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The four were seen stealing a vehicle from the dealership and fleeing, leading to an exchange of gunfire with police, RCMP said. No one was shot, however.

Paramedics were called to a police incident in Coquitlam at 3:52 p.m., according to BC Emergency Health Services, in two ambulances but no patients were taken to hospital.

As the incident continued, police said the suspects crashed the stolen vehicle on Highway 1 near the King Edward overpass and then tried to escape on foot.

Read more: Three suspects charged after kidnapping in Merritt, B.C., police say

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One of the four was quickly found and arrested, while another was found in Surrey after allegedly carjacking a vehicle. The two others remain at large, police said, and it’s not clear if they were injured.

“This was a very dynamic investigation with multiple crime scenes which required additional assistance from numerous jurisdictions,” Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said in the statement.

The incident appeared to have concluded on Highway 1 near the IKEA, and video posted to social media suggests a chase through several parts of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.

Global News cameras at the scene captured a black sedan pulled over with its hazard lights on surrounded by RCMP cruisers, including one with visible damage on its passenger side and what appeared to be bullet holes in the windshield.

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Click to play video: 'Merritt residents worried about community safety amid string of police incidents'
Merritt residents worried about community safety amid string of police incidents

Witness Peter Ladefoged told Global News he saw police searching the vehicle.

“The highway was closed down westbound by the King Edward overpass,” he said. “The black Mercedes was sitting in the left two lanes. The trunk was open and there were (Emergency Response Team) and regular RCMP around it holding ARs (rifles) while others were inspecting it.”

DriveBC had initially reported Highway 1 was closed to westbound traffic in the area. It later reopened.

In witness video shot in the area of Lougheed Highway and Schoolhouse Road in Coquitlam, what appear to be at least three gunshots can be heard as a person in a black hoodie runs down the highway, followed by what appears to be a police officer on foot.

More witness video shot at Lougheed and Shaughnessy Street showed police armed with rifles crouching as they made their way through stopped traffic.

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The witness who shot the video described seeing a black Mercedes with tinted windows swerving through traffic and being pursued by police as it drove into oncoming traffic.

Dash-cam video from a Global BC viewer shot at Lougheed and Pitt River Road around 4 p.m. showed a black Mercedes speed through an intersection followed by multiple police vehicles.

The incident also prompted the closure of the Braid SkyTrain Station for several hours and disrupted multiple TransLink bus routes.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have video footage is asked to call Coquitlam RCMP.

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