Princeton residents expressed shock and dismay Friday, following a shooting incident in their typically quiet town on Thursday afternoon.
According to RCMP reports, an unidentified man was found dead inside his vehicle following a police chase which ended behind the Sandman Inn off Highway 3.
“In Vancouver this is normal, but it is not commonplace for here,” says Debbie Grigg, whose child attends nearby Vermilion Fork Elementary. “It was way too close to the school. If this had been 15 minutes earlier the kids would have been out on the playground.”
The incident took place in the early afternoon, after a Princeton RCMP member pulled over a speeding motorist travelling east on the highway about 16 km from Princeton.
When the officer approached the suspect the vehicle took off.
A second officer joined in and the car was found behind the Sandman. As they were leaving their vehicles to approach the suspect vehicle, a gunshot was heard. Backup was called in, and the man was found deceased in his vehicle.
The Delta Police Department is conducting an independent investigation and were not available for further comment on Friday.
Grigg said police officers were all over the place Thursday afternoon and the school was placed on lockdown.
Sandee Blair, the principal at Princeton Secondary School, who served as acting principal at Vermilion during the incident, said the children were never in danger and the RCMP acted promptly.
“It was for less than an hour and it was just to be safe,” she said.
Employees at the Sandman and Husky gas station across the street declined to comment. It is believed that all hotel workers were asked to stay inside during the initial investigation.
Craig Pollock, who works at a supported living house in Princeton, said all he heard was there was a shooting at the Sandman.
“The police were here for quite a few hours and word was the man shot himself in the parking lot,” he said. “As towns get bigger, more of this stuff starts to happen.”