Three men have been arrested and charged following a shooting and alleged kidnapping in Merritt, according to RCMP.
Officers responded to shots fired on Friday (Nov. 15) in the 1300 block of Priest Road. As police arrived on scene a dark-coloured sedan was seen fleeing the area. Mounties later located the vehicle parked at a residence at the 1700 block of Nicola Avenue.
People were asked to stay away from the area as armed officers were seen entering a backyard of a residence to try to gain access to the targeted house. Capital News was on the phone with a local resident on Friday afternoon when police used a flash bang and a battering ram on the door of a neighbouring home.
During the standoff, three suspects tried to escape, but all were caught and arrested. According to Merritt RCMP Sgt. Josh Roda, police found a victim inside the home who was safe and uninjured.
Braeden Shane Drake, Mark Ethan Giesbrecht, and William Joseph Lavoie have been charged with hostage-taking with a firearm and entering a home without lawful excuse. All are currently being held in custody.
“There has been a brazen disregard for public safety recently in our community and having these individuals off our streets will hopefully restore a sense of security back to the community,” said Sgt. Josh Roda. “We want to thank the public for their patience as we worked diligently to mitigate any further risk.”
This is the second incident involving gunfire in Merritt this past week. More than 100 rounds were fired in several areas of the community on Tuesday, Nov. 15. A Dodge Ram pickup truck is reported to be connected to the shooting. The truck was found abandoned and burned on Friday morning near Highway 5 and Highway 5A, in the area of the Goedy Creek pit.
Police stated that the two incidents may be related.
The RCMP is asking for anyone with information on the kidnapping and the Nov. 15 shooting to please step forward and contact the detachment at 250-378-4262.