British Columbia

Minor-league hockey player charged in child-grabbing incident

Harold Giffen Clarkson Nyren, 30, was charged with assault and and willfully obstructing a police officer on Monday.

Harold Giffen Clarkson Nyren, 30, facing charges of assault and obstructing a peace officer

RCMP lead away a naked man from Kerry Park in Kelowna, B.C., after a child was allegedly grabbed from their mother. Witnesses say the suspect disrobed and swam away in Okanagan Lake after a struggle. The child was not harmed. (Madison Attwood)

A minor-league hockey player has been charged after a bizarre incident that allegedly involved a man grabbing a toddler from their mother at a park in Kelowna, B.C.

Harold Giffen Nyren was charged with assault and willfully obstructing a police officer on Monday. The 30-year-old from Calgary remains in custody, according to court documents.

Police said the alleged incident began in Kelowna's Kerry Park on Sunday afternoon.

Officers were called to the park at Bernard Avenue and Abbott Street just before 2:30 p.m. after hearing about a man allegedly grabbing a child who was being held by their mother. 

Witnesses said the suspect tried to swim away in Okanagan Lake after a struggle over the child.

Images and video posted online appeared to show the suspect taking off his clothes and swimming in the lake before being arrested and led away without his clothing.

"During his attempt to flee and his interaction with other onlookers and police, he began to disrobe," RCMP Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey said Sunday.

At one point he swam towards and climbed upon a log boom and may have injured his feet or lower legs, according to O'Donaghey.

The officer said the family doesn't know the suspect personally, adding that it isn't clear what the man's intentions may have been. 

Police said the child didn't appear to be hurt, but was examined in hospital before being released.

Giffen Nyren is charged with one count of common assault and one count of resisting a police officer in relation to an incident at Kelowna's Kerry Park on Saturday (GiffenNyren/twitter)

Nyren has played in the American Hockey League, Western Hockey League and Alberta Midget Hockey league in several Canadian provinces, according to EliteProspects.

He was a member of the Kamloops Blazers for two seasons from 2008-2010, and played parts of the last three seasons in Europe, according to the website.

O'Donaghey said Nyren remains in police custody. He was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

Anyone who saw the incident is asked to call Kelowna RCMP.

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