Shortly after 8:30 am on March 17, Sunshine Coast RCMP received third-hand information that a male had been seen holding a rifle on Gower Point Road in Gibsons. The witness was a passenger on a bus and notified the bus driver, who notified their dispatch, who called police. Because of the number of people involved in reporting the incident, it took considerable time for police to contact the passenger and speak with him directly. Due to the high-risk nature of the report, as well as the uncertainty about exactly where the suspect had been seen, police blocked off several streets in the area as a precautionary measure.
Once the suspect’s location had been confirmed, officers converged on a residence in the 500 block of Gower Point Road and were able to speak with the male. Police determined that the male had in fact been using a pellet gun to shoot at crows in the trees in his backyard. No rifle was involved, and police do not believe that there was any risk to the public.
When we hear that someone may be carrying a gun in a residential neighbourhood, it’s important that we respond appropriately and take all necessary precautions for the safety of the public and our officers until we can determine that there is no threat, said Cst Harrison Mohr with Sunshine Coast RCMP.
In this case, because of the difficulty we faced in contacting the original witness to determine the specific location of the suspect, we had to widen our safety perimeter until we confirmed exactly where the suspect had been seen. Thankfully our officers were able to locate the suspect and confirm there was no public safety risk. Although it does not sound like the male with the pellet gun was committing any criminal offence, we would like to remind the public that an item such as a pellet gun or imitation firearm can look very real and threatening to others. We have to treat it as a real gun until we can confirm otherwise. We would like to thank the public for their patience during the road closures while the incident was unfolding.
The suspect male was arrested for a brief time, but has since been released and no criminal charges are expected; he may however, face a bylaw fine for shooting at crows.