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Merritt RCMP said three men with ties to Coquitlam and Merritt were charged with assault with a weapon. (CBC)

Police in B.C.'s south-central Interior say three men from the Metro Vancouver area have been charged for assault with a weapon after using a shotgun to intimidate a complete stranger they mistook for someone else.

RCMP said the confrontation happened just before 9 p.m. PT Monday on Voght Street in Merritt, in B.C.'s Nicola Valley.

A man leaving a friend's home noticed a sitting vehicle was running on the street nearby.

He drove away, but the SUV, a black Lincoln Navigator, soon pulled up beside him.

In the back seat of the Navigator, he could see a passenger wearing a balaclava — who was pointing a shotgun right at him.

"The man hollered some threats and obscenities at the victim, who then braked and put his car in reverse and managed to drive home" Merritt RCMP said in a written statement.

"The victim stated that the suspect vehicle did not appear to be following him after he turned."

Within 15 minutes of being notified about the incident, police were able to locate the black Lincoln Navigator and arrested the three men inside it.

Merritt RCMP said the three — a 24-year-old from Coquitlam, a 24-year-old from Surrey, and a 27-year-old with ties to Coquitlam and Merritt — were charged with assault with a weapon the following day and released.

"It appears that the three suspects mistook the victim for another Merritt resident known to police," Const. Tracy Dunsmore said in a written statement.

The three men are scheduled to appear in court in Merritt on Mar. 18.

Map: Merritt, B.C.


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