British Columbia

Suspect arrested after RCMP issue active shooter alert for Vanderhoof, B.C.

RCMP have arrested a suspect following an active shooter situation in Vanderhoof, B.C. early Thursday afternoon.

MP says suspect shot into RCMP detachment before arrest

RCMP arrest a suspect on Thursday after an active shooter situation in Vanderhoof, B.C., west of Prince George. (Submitted)

RCMP have arrested a suspect following an active shooter situation in Vanderhoof, B.C., early Thursday afternoon.

Officers responded to reports of a shooter with a long gun targeting the RCMP detachment on Columbia Street and driving around the area just after 12:15 p.m. PT.

Police issued an emergency text alert issued to the community, west of Prince George, B.C., asking everyone in the area to stay inside and lock their doors. The suspect was considered armed and dangerous, police said.

An updated alert sent around 1:20 p.m. PT said officers had taken the suspect into custody after "a brief pursuit." RCMP ended the lockdown and told the community it was safe to return to normal.

No one was hurt.

According to B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), which manages the B.C. Ambulance Service, emergency medical response was not required.

"BCEHS was prepared to respond to the situation in Vanderhoof today as needed, but we were asked to stand down by the RCMP," it said in a statement to CBC News.

Staff pulled kids from the street into mall

Richard Wruth runs the California Dreamin' clothing store out of the Co-op Mall in Vanderhoof. He realized something was wrong after someone in his store got a phone call about shots fired. Soon after, he then got a similar call from a family member.

"They said bullets were flying ... so that's when I told my employees to lock the doors. I went outside and I started telling people and kids to get into the mall," Wruth said in an interview.

"It was lunch hour, so there were people everywhere."

Wruth said he pulled as many as 30 people into the building and shuffled them into the hallway of the mall, away from the windows. Staff from the co-op store started handing out cookies and water for the kids.

The all-clear came within an hour, but Wruth said everybody was shaken.

"It's not something that normally happens around here. So I think there's going to be some people and kids that this is going to affect, and they're going to have to talk it through. It's hard to understand what what happened today. And I mean, it's OK to be scared, but we want to make sure we talk about it, right?" he said.

MP Todd Doherty, who represents the Cariboo-Prince George riding, spoke about what happened in the House of Commons on Thursday.

"I first want to send my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to my community of Vanderhoof," Doherty said.

"This person, for reasons unknown, shot into our RCMP detachment. Thankfully, as far as I know, no one was wounded." 

The welcome sign outside Vanderhoof, B.C., is pictured in 2017. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

With files from Kate Partridge