What began April 21 as a shots fired complaint in Coldstream ended with police guns drawn, a truck stopped on Highway 6 and two suspects in custody.
Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP received a complaint at 6 p.m. of a pick-up truck with occupants carelessly and illegally discharging a firearm near residences and cattle pasture on the King Edward Forest Service Road.
“The witness and complainant observed and heard the discharging of the firearm with all observations being relayed to the Vernon RCMP with respect to the whereabouts and description of the vehicle,” said Vernon RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Gerry Kovacs.
“At one point the vehicle fled when the occupants noticed that they were being observed.”
The pick-up truck drove onto Highway 6 and headed towards Vernon, and Kovacs said the vehicle was observed driving in an unsafe manner and was seen passing other vehicles cars on double- solid lines at one point.
The truck was intercepted by members in marked police cars, and who had their guns drawn, on Highway 6 between 15th Street and Aberdeen Road.
A search of the vehicle located a Russian-made 7.62 mm SKS rifle and dozens of rounds of ammunition along with several spent casings. Officers also seized an amount of beer found in the vehicle.
The officers had grounds to demand a roadside breath sample from the male driver, 30, from Vernon, who provided two samples, which police report were above the legal limit.
The man was issued a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition with vehicle impoundment.
The passenger, a 23-year-old Vernon man, is the registered owner of the rifle. He is facing a charge of careless use of a firearm and possession of weapons dangerous to the public peace.
“Officers also observed and seized a bayonet, which was affixed to the rifle allegedly being discharged,” said Kovacs. “As a result of the investigation the individual had to surrender four firearms, which included a low-calibre handgun along with his firearms license. The investigation is ongoing and a firearms ban is being sought on this individual.”
The highway was closed for about 15 minutes during the takedown.
Police believe the matter is a case of a couple of individuals making a bad choice to combine alcohol and firearms.
“I don’t know where these individuals get off on thinking they can just go drink and shoot off guns,” said Kovacs.
“This is not something we can condone as police. It’s outrageous behaviour. I don’t know what else to say. It thoroughly disturbs me.”
Kovacs said police did not know the intention of what the individuals were shooting at, but they don’t believe the pair meant to cause any harm or destruction.
“I think these persons were just not thinking, they got caught and will be dealt with,” said Kovacs.