Google maps A man is facing several charges after pulling a firearm on an employee and customer at the Hilltop Esso gas station in Keremeos on Sunday morning.

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

Life flashed before Rebecca Malek’s eyes when a man lifted a shotgun from his lap and pointed it at her and a customer at the Keremeos Esso early Sunday morning.

“I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun,” she told the Keremeos Review during an interview earlier this week.

“He lifts his shotgun off his lap and points it at us through his car window and ‘click.’ I just stand there. Trevor runs as soon as he hears the click; he runs behind the building.”

Despite the harrowing experience Malek keeps a sense of humour about it all as she says, “At least he didn’t push me as he ran away or use me as a human shield.”

Malek and the customer Trevor Milton Gilbert know each other well from the community.

Another employee came out of the store and was on the phone with police as the man drove away with the gun still pointed out the window as he stared at those outside.

The gun did not fire. It’s unknown at this time if the gun was loaded or it just didn’t go off.

The man arrested was a 52-year-old Olalla man who was involved in a police incident which caused Highway 3A to be closed for several hours about two weeks ago. At that time the man was taken under the Mental Health Act and treated in hospital for an unknown period of time.

Related: UPDATE: Olalla man taken into custody following police incident

Malek said the man was in the vicinity of the store three times on Sunday morning between 5:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. when he pulled the gun.

The first time he stopped on the roadway and yelled at a customer at the pumps.

“I was outside putting the fire extinguishers out. There was a guy getting gas. The guy stopped and was yelling at him, ‘if so and so doesn’t give me back my (expletive) he’s (expletive) dead.” she said.

A short time later the man comes into the gas station and says he needs coffee.

“When he didn’t pay for his coffee I realized he was the guy that threatened the other guy earlier. He says ‘it’s gonna be a long day,’ he’s ranting while he’s getting coffee and then he just leaves without paying.”

The final time she was inside the store with Gilbert while he was getting coffee before he went to work.

The two heard squealing tires from the gas pumps.

“I looked out and we saw him pushing Trevor’s car with his car. Trevor’s car was parked, no keys in it. He was just ramming it with his car. I tell the other worker to grab the phone and call the police and tell Trevor to grab his phone so we can videotape what he’s doing,” she said.

By the time the pair ran out of the door the man had rammed Gilbert’s car across the roadway and was continuing to push it as it hit a fence and came to a stop on a berm.

“He hears us talking and comes speeding up to us. We jumped behind the rail in front of Subway. That’s when he lifted the shotgun and we heard the click,” she said.

The man took off and headed towards Penticton where police caught up with him around 10 a.m.

“I felt better after I heard they got him and I was able to talk to the police,” Malek said.

Cpl. Brian Evans of the RCMP detachment said the man is facing five charges, four firearms related and one for dangerous driving. Police executed a search warrant on the man’s home in Olalla on Monday as well as his car, which was in custody in Penticton.

Evans said the same man was involved in a mental health incident on Nov. 28 where he barricaded himself in his home. The incident closed Highway 3A between Keremeos and Penticton for several hours. The man was taken in under the Mental Health Act and treated at hospital. Evans said police are not told how long people are kept in hospital when taken under the Mental Health Act nor are they notified when they are released.

He added on Nov. 28 the man was not charged as he hadn’t committed any criminal offences.

To report a typo, email:
editor@keremeosreview.com
.


@TaraBowieBC
editor@keremeosreview.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Vernon, Penticton, Cranbrook concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

Kimberley Minor Hockey players scrimmage with the Dynamiters last year. KMH file
Kimberley and Cranbrook Minor Hockey relationship grows the game for local players

Players can now play to their skill level regardless of city of origin

The KEYSA Indoor Facility is nearing completion as the air-supported dome was raised last week. Trevor Crawley photo.
KEYSA indoor facility project nearing completion

Project remains on budget and set for completion by the end of October

The old Kootenay Springs building on 6th Street in Cranbrook, just off the highway, was on fire Saturday night, Oct 17. Barry Coulter photo
Kootenay Springs building, burns in Cranbrook; other fires still under investigation

Derelict building was on the site of the old Cranbrook Brewery, itself destroyed by fire 95 years ago

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read