A 28-year old man remains in Kelowna police custody after a dramatic arrest inside the Orchard Park Mall early Friday night.
Shortly after 6 p.m., Kelowna RCMP responded to several reports of a man yielding a knife inside a jewelry store in the mall.
As many as 20 police officers, including several members of the traffic units, quickly descended on the mall from all sides.
“Our officers effectively cleared the immediate area inside the mall of civilian shoppers for their safety,” said Const. Jesse O’Donaghey. “Several police officers, some armed with carbine rifles, made verbal contact with the suspect who was still inside the store and still in possession of a steak knife.”
Investigators have determined that the emotionally disturbed man, who had been yelling incoherent sentences, had entered at least two of the stores inside the mall brandishing the knife to store employees and demanding the use of their phones to call 911.
When confronted by officers, the suspect failed to follow police commands to put down his weapon. Subsequently an officer deployed a Conducted Electrical Weapon (CEW or Taser), which had no effect due to the thickness of the suspect’s clothing.
After further negotiation with the suspect, he finally complied with police and put down the knife. He was then taken into custody without further incident. Police suspect that the man may have been under the influence of drugs and or other intoxicating substances.
“The mall remained open during the entire incident, however two of its stores were temporarily closed while investigators interviewed staff,” said O’Donaghey. “Thankfully no one was injured during this incident.”
The suspect, a 28-year-old man of no fixed address in Anahim Lake, in the Cariboo, remains in police custody.
He was wanted on multiple unrelated warrants for his arrest out of Vernon and Dawson Creek, and now faces several potential charges including assault with a weapon, and failure to comply with a probation order.