A high-speed pursuit in Merritt Sunday afternoon, resulting in the exchange of gunfire with police has shocked local residents.
“It’s just quiet, nothing ever really happens here,” resident Steven Kravontka told Global News.
That was not the case this weekend when Kravontka saw a white Ford F-350 truck being driven erratically with smoke filling the air.
He said when he first saw the vehicle it had no tread on its tires, it was driving on its rims and when the driver turned the corner, Kravontka said he could see a gun in his hands.
Kravontka said it looked like an assault rifle. “It was big,” he said.
“(My) main focus was just on the weapon. He was turning pretty quick.”
A number of RCMP vehicles were also following the truck.
RCMP said officers exchanged gunfire with the vehicle throughout the pursuit.
Child and male suspect injured in high-speed chase in Merritt
Child hurt in high-speed chase, gunfire exchange in Merritt, B.C.
At around 3:50 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, RCMP said they had tried to stop the truck and trailer that was associated with a stolen property file, but the vehicle fled.
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Early that evening, the truck was spotted five kilometres from Merritt on Highway 5A, but no trailer, police said.
Spike strips were used to try to stop the vehicle, which proved unsuccessful, though it eventually came to a halt on Highway 8 near Snake road and Highway 97C.
“It was more shocking,” Kravontka, who caught some of the incident on video, said. “I didn’t really have time to react as I just wanted to follow a little bit.”
Inside the vehicle, Mounties found a child believed to be under the age of 12 and a male suspect.
Both were taken to hospital with serious injuries.
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The Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO BC) has now been called in to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the two injuries.
“I’m just hoping everybody’s alright,” Kravontka added.
— With files from Toby Kerr
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