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Vernon Mounties shoot armed man

A police officer performs CPR on a man as he is rushed out of a Vernon apartment Thursday after being shot by police. - Tyler Olsen
A police officer performs CPR on a man as he is rushed out of a Vernon apartment Thursday after being shot by police.
— image credit: Tyler Olsen

A representative from the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP is being dispatched to Vernon following an incident Thursday in which police fatally shot a man at a downtown apartment.

Police officers from the Vernon/North Okanagan detachment were sent to an apartment building in the 3800 block of 27th Avenue to arrest a male on a warrant issued under the Mental Health Act.

“Upon attendance at the scene, the suspect produced a knife and threatened to use it on the police officers,” said Vernon RCMP Const. Cathy Scott.

“Fearing grievous bodily injury or death, police subsequently shot the male, who was taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital.”

The male was pronounced dead a short time later.

The police officers did not sustain any injuries.

The situation, said Scott, is another example of the many dangerous situations that police face.

“While the vast majority of police contacts with the public are resolved peacefully, physical force is occasionally required to subdue suspects,” said Scott.

“The Criminal Code allows police to use reasonable force in their enforcement of the law. In extremely rare instances an officer may be required to draw his or her firearm.

“A firearm is only discharged if there is an immediate threat of extreme violence, and to protect the lives of the public and officers.”

The RCMP’s southeast district’s major crime section is investigating the incident, and having the commission send a representative is standard protocol.

Joe and June Harasymchuk are the managers of the apartment building, where Thursday’s incident took place shortly after 1 p.m. They were informed that police and ambulance were at the building.

“Joe went down right away but the police haven’t told us anything,” said June Thursday afternoon.

“We know the first floor is cordoned off, so we can’t even get into the office.”

Asked if there had been any problems with any of the tenants, June said, “no, not really.”

Bill Parker has lived at the building since June. He was returning to his apartment for a second time Thursday afternoon around 1:30 when he saw an assortment of police cars and an ambulance in front of the building.

“I came home around 12:30 from Kelowna, dropped off some clothes and Christmas presents, got my mail and went grocery shopping. Everything in the building was so quiet,” said Parker, who added that “mostly seniors” lived in the building.

“It’s always so quiet around here. I never hear anything and hardly see anyone.”

The name and age of the deceased has not been released.

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