Violent Saskatchewan mob attacks medics, police
A crowd of 50 to 70 people in the small northern town of La Loche, Sask., left a trail of destruction on Friday, storming a hospital, burning a police truck and attacking RCMP officers and paramedics.
Police said at around 3:15 a.m. CT in the town of about 2,300 residents, there were two big parties going on and two people were driving around on all-terrain vehicles.
When police tried to stop the ATVs, one of the vehicles went into a ditch and crashed. The driver, a 29-year-old man, passed out and an ambulance was called.
Then, crowds of people came out of the parties, apparently blaming the two RCMP officers for the man's injuries. The crowds attacked the Mounties, as well as paramedics, police said.
"Emergency personnel had cans, bottles, and other debris thrown at them," the RCMP said in a news release. "Several of the party-goers surrounded the police truck and ambulance and were threatening the members."
After the ambulance left the scene, police said they went to the hospital to check on the injured man. However, a crowd of 50 to 70 people also showed up at the hospital and tried to get in.
"It is believed the crowd's intent was to forcibly remove the two La Loche members that were inside the hospital," the RCMP said.
The police and hospital staff barricaded themselves inside, but people smashed the windows and kept trying to get in, police said.
Police said they had to use pepper spray to keep people out. All of the remaining Mounties in the town were called in for backup.
An RCMP truck was set on fire and the ambulance was severely damaged, police said.
The ATV driver was treated for minor injuries from his crash. None of the police or paramedics were seriously injured.
Police are continuing their investigation, but have not yet said what charges will be laid.
This isn't the first case of violence in the small village of La Loche.
Gang violence was blamed for the death of Matthew St. Pierre, 29, who was shot and killed across from the RCMP detachment on June 6, 2010.
In the summer of 2009, a 13-year-old girl was hit in a drive-by shooting. She survived her injuries but her father, Robert St. Pierre, said there was a definite culture of fear present in the community that made it difficult for some individuals to be brought to justice.
In 2009, RCMP told CBC News that there were possibly as many as 100 gang members in the village.