British Columbia

Man pleads not guilty to attempted murder of police officer after alleged 'attack' on RCMP detachment

A man charged with the attempted murder of an RCMP officer in northern B.C. last year has pleaded not guilty.

Paul Russell faces 8 additional charges in connection with shots fired at Vanderhoof, B.C., detachment

RCMP arrest a suspect on Nov. 25, 2021, after an armed man fired multiple shots into the Vanderhoof, B.C., RCMP detachment. (Submitted)

A man charged with the attempted murder of an RCMP officer in northern B.C. last year has pleaded not guilty.

Paul Nicholas Russell was arrested after an armed man repeatedly fired a long gun into the RCMP detachment in Vanderhoof, B.C., where about a dozen people were working, on Nov. 25, 2021.

The incident triggered an active shooter alert that was broadcast in the Vanderhoof and Prince George areas.

 After the arrest, RCMP North District Chief Supt. Warren Brown said he believed it was a "targeted attack on the RCMP."

"I am told bullets from a rifle smashed through windows, striking walls, equipment and flying past work stations ... Terrible accounts where our employees were deafened by gunfire, could smell burning gun powder and threw themselves on the ground to avoid being shot," said Brown last year.

On Wednesday, Russell appeared in Prince George court by video link and telephone from the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre, where he remains in custody. 

Dressed in a red sweat suit, Russell appeared calm and polite. 

His lawyer said Russell has elected to be tried by a B.C. Supreme Court judge and jury.

He was charged with one count of attempted murder with a firearm last November. In late January, he was charged with eight additional crimes.

"The new information charging the additional offences was approved by the B.C. Prosecution Service after a full review of all the investigative information provided by the police," said Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel for the B.C. Prosecution Service.

The new charges include firearms offences, mischief endangering life, and flight from police. 

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