Kenneth Michael Knutson charged in shooting of Cpl. Jean Rene Michaud
Crown announces charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault
The B.C. Crown has confirmed charges against a 36-year-old man in connection with the shooting of RCMP Cpl. Jean Rene Michaud.
Kenneth Michael Knutson, 36, has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and two firearms-related charges after the officer was shot during an early morning traffic stop on Wednesday.
Knutson has a lengthy criminal record dating back more than a decade.
In 2002, he was charged with second-degree murder, but the charge was reduced to manslaughter and later downgraded to criminal negligence involving death when the Crown failed to prove the shooting was not accidental.
At the time of that shooting he was on probation for drug offences, possession of stolen property and for assaulting a police officer in 2001.
In 2009, Knutson was convicted in Surrey, B.C., on three firearms charges related to a police stop after being found with a loaded restricted handgun while wearing body armour.
A judge found that Knutson's gun was "loaded and cocked" with a bullet in the chamber. He was given a lifetime firearms ban.
Police revealed Thursday that they have found and seized the Chrysler Intrepid, which they had been looking for in connection with the shooting.
Women arrested during investigation
During the investigation, RCMP said they arrested three women, but wouldn't speculate on charges or their connection, if any, to the investigation. Police said one of the women was arrested on outstanding warrants.
A neighbour near the house where at least two of the women were arrested ,and who spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity, said the arresting officers arrived in force.
"People cutting down the back fence and another person in full-on army fatigue with a rifle or shotgun towards the house," she said describing the scene. "When they came to the front by then a big, metal, police SWAT team kind of tank truck arrived and the house was surrounded.
"About four or five times, whoever was in the house was told to come out with their hands up."
The neighbour said the Chrysler Intrepid police were looking for was also taken from where it was parked outside the home. She said the local residents referred to the home as a drug house, because it had a lot of traffic with people coming and going from it at odd hours.
Further surgery expected
Police said Cpl. Michaud remains in hospital in Kamloops in critical, but stable condition and is expected to undergo further surgery.
Earlier in the day, B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office announced it was no longer involved in the investigation into the shooting.
However, it says it has determined after a review that it does not need to become involved — a determination it says is usually based on the severity of the suspect's injuries.
RCMP officials said an officer backing up Michaud returned fire after the Mountie was shot. The 13-year veteran of the force was critically wounded during a traffic stop on Wednesday morning. He is 40 years old and has a wife and two young children.
The uniformed officer, who was driving a marked cruiser, stopped a vehicle as part of an investigation around 2:45 a.m. at Batchelor Drive and North River Drive. Michaud, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was shot as he approached the vehicle.
"I can say that our officer was fired upon as he approached the suspect vehicle and the backup officer who was also in attendance returned fire towards that vehicle," Mueller said.
Kamloops RCMP announced Wednesday afternoon that a suspect had been arrested "without incident" in the Batchelor Heights area of Kamloops around 3:30 p.m. PT Wednesday.
With files from The Canadian Press