Armed suspect shot, apprehended in Portage la Prairie
Public safety no longer a concern in the area, according to RCMP
RCMP shot and apprehended a suspect after an hours-long search in Portage la Prairie, Man., on Tuesday that prompted a lockdown of schools, a safety warning from police and searches of vehicles leaving town.
Around 6 p.m., police caught up with the man outside the city, off Highway 1 just east of Portage la Prairie — about 85 kilometres west of Winnipeg — following reports of a suspicious male walking towards the highway.
Const. Sean O'Keefe said RCMP are looking into how the suspect was able to leave the city. He is believed to have been on foot.
Police had previously stated the man was believed to be carrying a long gun. O'Keefe said he couldn't confirm if the man was, in fact, armed, because the shooting is being investigated by the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba. The unit looks into into all serious incidents involving police in Manitoba.
RCMP didn't release the identity of the male suspect. He was transported to a Winnipeg hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Public safety is no longer a concern, RCMP said.
Police say they responded around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday to a report of a stolen vehicle entering the Portage la Prairie area with multiple firearms inside it.
The vehicle was described as a Buick Lucerne and police believe it was stolen from the Headingley area, just west of Winnipeg.
An officer saw the vehicle and stopped it, apprehending two of the suspects, both female. The third suspect fled on foot, believed to be armed.
Both women who were taken into custody were previously known to police, O'Keefe said.
RCMP tweeted the suspect who fled was "potentially violent," and O'Keefe told media the risk to public and police safety was "very high."
All schools in the area were put on lockdown, residents were advised to close and lock their doors and windows and police searched vehicles leaving Portage la Prairie in an effort to locate the suspect.
A collision occurred as police stopped the car, but O'Keefe didn't elaborate on the circumstances of the incident.
"Of course, the fact that there was an armed robbery as well as potential firearms involved there, we want to stop that car as quickly as possible and as safe as possible if we can without risk to anybody else," he said during a media briefing.
Julie Prior lives at the corner of 14th Street Northwest and McKay Avenue West. She said she was cleaning Tuesday afternoon when she heard a "funny noise" outside which she described as a "crunch."
When she looked out her window, there was a damaged car sitting on her lawn.
"I didn't come right away … I did come out after a while, and there was this car sitting, and these two kids in it, young girls and they hauled them out of there, put them in the cop car, and that's where they sat all day," she said.
The car was removed later Tuesday evening, leaving long, shallow indentations in the lawn.
"I think it's horrible. This is Portage la Prairie," she said.
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Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris said he was relieved and happy police and the public are safe after the suspect was apprehended.
"I think it was handled extremely well. I think the RCMP showed a lot of restraint," he said. "And it was certainly a lot of co-operation from the citizens of Portage. They did a great job, absolutely."
Ferris said the community is breathing a sigh of relief.
"Relief, and everybody's talking about it, of course."
Public safety in Portage no longer a concern. Suspect apprehended and injured. IIU advised and en route <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rcmpmb?src=hash">#rcmpmb</a>—@rcmpmb
Situation is man with weapon. Potentially violent. In Portage la Prairie area. See something suspicious, call 911.—@rcmpmb
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rcmpmb?src=hash">#rcmpmb</a> reminds residents to check all doors & windows to ensure they are closed & locked. Turn off any indoor lights.—@rcmpmb
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rcmpmb?src=hash">#rcmpmb</a> is aware & responding to a serious incident in Portage la Prairie. All updates will be provided via twitter—@rcmpmb