British Columbia

Man believed to be connected to Merritt, B.C., shootings arrested after police standoff, RCMP say

A man wanted on a B.C.-wide warrant has been arrested in Merritt and charged. He is believed to be connected to recent violence in Merritt, B.C.

Ronald Karlson was wanted on B.C.-wide warrant for breaching release order

A man with a tattoo on his neck stares into the camera
Ronald Karlson, wanted on a province-wide warrant, was arrested in Merritt, B.C., on Nov. 23, 2022. (Submitted by Merritt RCMP)

A man believed to be connected to recent shootings in Merritt, B.C., has been arrested after a standoff with police, RCMP say. 

Ronald Karlson was wanted on a B.C.-wide warrant for breaching his release order, issued one week ago.

He is believed to be involved in shootings and a kidnapping in Merritt, a small city in B.C.'s southern Interior, where there have been five shootings since Nov. 15.

Investigators have not clarified how he might be connected to those shootings, but Sgt. Josh Roda, the acting detachment commander, said Karlson's arrest was "kind of like the final piece that we needed to put all of this to rest, and we're really happy to have finally done that."

"We really think that by getting him in custody, it's really going to quell a lot of what we've been dealing with lately," Roda said.

Karlson was arrested after police were called to Voght Street and Priest Avenue in Merritt to investigate a report of a "suspicious person" around 1:30 a.m. PT Wednesday.

Police said when officers arrived, they saw Karlson kick the back door of a house and rush inside. 

The residents of the house managed to get out, and the RCMP's South East District Emergency Response Team was called in to help. 

After a standoff, Karlson left the house and was arrested. 

Karlson has been charged with break and enter to commit mischief, forcible entry and obstructing a peace officer with regard to his arrest on Wednesday morning. He has not been charged in relation to any other recent violence in Merritt. 

Three other men are facing firearms and hostage-taking charges after they were arrested last Friday following a kidnapping, police said.

Roda said these incidents are likely related to organized crime and the illicit drug trade.

With files from Jenifer Norwell, Brady Strachan and Marcella Bernardo