Salmon Arm  

Shot in leg by gunman

One of the men who was shot during a Salmon Arm church shooting Sunday has a long road to recovery. 

On Sunday, a gunman entered the Church of Christ in Salmon Arm and shot Paul Derkach and Gordon Parmenter. 

Parmenter died on scene and Derkach was rushed to Royal Inland Hospital by air ambulance. He immediately had surgery and friends say it was a miracle he did not lose his lower right leg or foot. 

“He has a long road of recovery ahead that may include more surgeries and medical procedures in the near and distant future,” said Kendra Joy on a GoFundMe page

A rod has been placed in his right leg from his knee to ankle. 

Matrix Savage Gathergood is alleged to have burst into the Church of Christ during bible service , shooting the two men. He's now facing a first-degree murder charge. 

Police say Gathergood knew at least one of the victims. 

A GoFundMe was created with the goal of raising enough money so that Derkach can get through five months of living expenses. 

“He is devoted to his family and his church family, and is an amazing, loving dad and grandpa to his daughters and many grandkids,” said Joy.

“He is actively involved in his community and is well known as a kind friend and light to so many people. We are so thankful he is still here with us.”

A GoFundMe was also created for Parmenter’s wife Peggy. 

Gathergood’s first court appearance will be on April 23 in Salmon Arm.


Wife heartbroken by death

Alanna Kelly

A 25-year-old Salmon Arm man is facing a first-degree murder charge after shooting an elder to death inside a church.

Matrix Savage Gathergood is alleged to have burst into the Church of Christ during bible service on Sunday and shot two of the parishioners.

A woman who was in the church at the time of the shooting says the shooter could have killed other people including children.

"If he wanted to kill more people he could have, but he came there for one person,” said Kristie Mattenley, who is still in shock over the event.

“Thankfully the littlest kids were spared from seeing the horror. They escaped out a side room."

She recalls people were helping each other escape and going over fences.

"It was awful, but it could have been much worse, much worse," she said.

Gordon Parmenter, 78, was shot to death and another man was taken to hospital by air ambulance. He remains in hospital in stable condition and is expected to survive his injuries.

Gathergood, who knew Parmenter, is facing charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault and disguising his face with intent to commit an offence.

The granddaughter of Parmenter, Nicolette Anne says the senseless event has left the family sad beyond description and they ask for everyone’s prayers.

A GoFundMe has been created to help Parmenter’s wife Peggy.

Peggy is living in temporary housing after a fire burned their home to the ground last year. Their vehicle also had their tires slashed on the same day their home was destroyed.

“Peggy is heartbroken but strong like a tower,” said Anne.

A green coloured pickup truck that has been parked outside of the church since the shooting also has a deflated tire.

People who knew Parmenter say he held no ill will toward whoever set the fire and he set an example for his fellow believers to follow.

Forensic specialists finished working inside the church and cleared the scene Monday evening. Parmenter’s body was removed from the scene Monday afternoon.

“Additional resources have been called in to support the ongoing investigation, and officers will be looking at any and all previous investigations or interactions with the accused and the victims to determine their relevance to the ongoing fatal shooting investigation,” said Sgt. Scott West.

Bouquets of flowers were laid outside the church on the sidewalk by residents showing their support for the church community.

Anne also said a fund at SASCU Credit Union in Salmon Arm uptown and downtown has been created that people can donate.

Gathergood’s first court appearance will be on April 23 in Salmon Arm.

'Shock and disbelief'

UPDATE: 5:34 p.m.

A small memorial of flowers is building outside a church in Salmon Arm where a fatal shooting occured.

Yellow police tape hung around the Church of Christ as investigators worked inside.

The B.C. Prosecution Service has named Matrix Savage Gathergood, 25, as the suspected shooter.

He is facing charges of first degree murder in the death of Gordon Parmenter, 78, and was also charged with aggravated assault and disguising his face with intent to commit an offence.

Salmon Arm residents visited the church on Monday afternoon that is guarded by numerous RCMP cruisers and dropped off flowers to let the church community know they are thinking of them.

“I just wanted to do something,” said one resident named Lynne.

The body of Parmenter was removed from inside the church on Monday afternoon.

Alan Harrison, the Mayor of Salmon Arm said the community is reeling and will spend today grieving.

“We couldn’t believe this has happened, especially in our little town and today,” said Harrison. “There is a feeling in the air of shock and disbelief.”  

Parmenter is being remembered as a foster parent, someone who gave back to the community and a very respected person.

“We are reeling, we live in a very safe place and to having something like this happen here is shocking to all of us,” said Harrison.

Many who knew Parmenter say he was very caring and opened his home to many in the community.

“His role was a role of helping individual and helping in the community,” he says.

Harrison says the charges against Gathergood brings solace to the members of the community.

UPDATE 12:47 p.m.

The BC Prosecution Service has identified the man suspected of shooting a man to death in a Salmon Arm church Sunday.

Matrix Savage Gathergood, 25, is facing charges of first degree murder in the death of Gordon Parmenter, 78, during a church service.

Gathergood was also charged with aggravated assault and disguising his face with intent to commit an offence.

A small B.C. town is reeling after a shooting in a church left an elder dead and another injured.

A 25-year-old man entered the Church of Christ in Salmon Arm during an event at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, and shot two of the parishioners.

Gordon Parmenter was shot to death at the church.

“Many knew him as Poppa and many went to bed dreaming of him last night,” said Nicolette Anne.

A foster child, who can't be named, says Parmenter helped him discover his potential.

Parmenter and his wife Peggy are being described as very caring people. They had four children. They are also hosts of foster children who benefited from their home and teachings.

Police surrounded the church at about 10:30 a.m. Air ambulance transported one person to hospital.

The suspect was wrestled to the ground by a number of parishioners and a rifle was seized.

Police arrested him and charges are pending. His identity has not been released but police say the suspect knew at least one of the victims.

A GoFundMe campaign has been created to help his grieving wife.

“We lost a husband, a father (of various manifestations grand, great grand, foster, and father to some who are fatherless), our friend, our mentor and our patriarch,” said Anne.

Parmenter is being remembered for having a powerful impact on all who knew him.

“If you knew him you know of his love and his affection fuelled by his faith in Jesus Christ,” said Anne. “This was a senseless event. We regard his attacker and his family with love, not hostility as Jesus loved those who nailed him to the cross.”

Parmenter’s home was destroyed by a fire in March 2018 and also both the vehicles at their home had their tires slashed.

“It is not believed at this time that the event was religiously motivated,” said Sgt. Scott West.

Officers continue to investigate.



Love rises from sorrow

Out of the horror of what was supposed to be a typical Sunday service, Kristie Mattenley hopes some good can come.

Mattenley was in the Church of Christ in Salmon Arm Sunday when a man burst in and shot Gordon Parmenter to death.

Mattenley said the Parmenter family is already showing Christian love toward the shooter, an example she wants to follow.

“We are trying to focus on the positive because there is so much negativity in the world,” she said. “All of his family, his children, his grandchildren, all of them are all praying for the man who shot their husband and father and grandfather. They are all about forgiveness,” she said. “I want to follow in their footsteps and focus on the good things.”
Mattenley said the situation could have been much worse.

“If he wanted to kill more people he could have, but he came there for one person,” said Mattenley, who is still in shock over the event.

“Thankfully the littlest kids were spared from seeing the horror. They escaped out a side room. The lady leading Sunday School quickly escorted them out. Everyone in the church responded in such a way...people were helping other escape, going over fences. It was awful, but it could have been much worse, much worse.”

The Parmenter's home was damaged in a fire three weeks ago, but Mattenley said Gordon held no ill will toward whoever set the fire and he set an example for his fellow believers to follow.

“We think about Jesus and we want to honour Gord's life because he did not speak ill of the person who burned house. He did not know who the person was, but he was forgiving of that person and we all were just amazed at his faith. He is just a mighty man of God. His whole family is like that, they are all banding together.”
Mattenley said there are only 25 people in the congregation and they are all coming together, noting the members gathered at a member's home to pray and share their experience.

Mattenley is hesitant to talk about the incident out of respect for the Parmenter family, but she posted some thoughts on Facebook about one red shoe:

“This shoe will forever serve as a visual reminder of fleeing the church for safety. I ended up losing one in the process of running, and it is now part of the crime scene. So as I look at this remaining shoe, many thoughts race in my mind. I remember the awful moments, but I cling to and dwell on the beautiful ones. The people in my church are strong. So strong. The people in my church are loving and forgiving. They are beautiful Christian people. Everyone worked together and helped each other out. Selfless, brave, and full of love. The world wants to focus on the evil. I want to focus on the good. The goodness of those who survived, those who helped the wounded, those who prayed for the broken hearted, those who have encouraged and listened to the retelling of the day many times over. I have been comforted by many. It will take time to heal, grieve, and work through this tragedy. It will be hard, but I'm so thankful that I have friends and family that love and support me. Thank you all for your prayers. We need them. I will look at this shoe and be grateful that it wasn't worse, that many people were spared, and that I get to walk in this shoe today.”

Foster child cried for hours

UPDATE 7:56 a.m.

A former foster child of a Salmon Arm, British Columbia shooting victim is remembering Gordon Parmenter as the man who helped him discover his potential.

The foster child, who can't be named, has identified Parmenter as the man shot to death Sunday at a church in Salmon Arm, about 100 kilometres north of Kelowna.

Salmon Arm RCMP confirm the shooting, which also seriously injured a second man in the church before other parishioners wrestled a 25-year-old man to the ground and held him until police arrived.

In a statement to The Canadian Press, the former foster child says he lived with Parmenter and his wife Peggy from 2012 or 2013 until he aged out of the system in 2017.

The statement says without Parmenter's help, he would never have completed high school, discovered his love of music or continued to college, adding that he wept for an hour upon learning of the death.

Charges are pending and police say the suspect knew at least one of the victims, but they note that the attack was not religiously motivated, nor has it created any ongoing risk to public safety.

-with files from Canadian Press

UPDATE: 5:45 p.m.

Police say the suspect in a fatal shooting at a church in Salmon Arm was not religiously motivated.

Church of Christ in Salmon Arm was hosting an event when a man allegedly entered the church and shot two of the parishioners.

Officers rushed to the scene just after 10:30 a.m. and immediately determined that two individuals were seriously wounded and required urgent medical assistance.

Paramedics were called to the church for two patients and they transported one man to hospital by air ambulance in stable condition.

One individual was declared deceased at the scene. Condolences have poured in online identifying the deceased as Gordon Parmenter, an elder at the church.

A 25-year-old man was wrestled to the ground by a number of parishioners and a rifle was seized.

He remains in police custody with charges pending.

"While the investigation is in the preliminary stages, there is no information to suggest there are any ongoing threats to public safety,” said Sgt. Scott West.

“Police have determined that at least one of the victims was known to the suspect, and it is not believed at this time the event was religiously motivated.”

RCMP have notified the BC Coroners Service and the next of kin notifications have been completed.

No information is being released by police about the victims at this time.

Salmon Arm RCMP, with the assistance of the Southeast District Major Crime Unit, are conducting the investigation.

Victim Services support has also been called in to assist with those impacted by the incident.

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

Condolences are pouring in online for an elder at a church in Salmon Arm after a shooting occurred in the small town.

Paramedics were called to the Church of Christ just after 10:30 a.m. on Sunday for two patients and they transported one man to hospital by air ambulance.

Reports indicate that Gordon Parmenter has died on Sunday. 

“No words to express our sorrow! Many, many prayers being lifted up for all of you! Gordon was a great man,” said one person on Facebook. “Our hearts are shattered.”

Another person said their hearts are heavy with the news.

“Our prayers are with the Parmenter family and all the congregation who witnessed this tragedy,” said another person. 

The church’s website says Parmenter was married to a woman named Peggy and together they have four children and numerous grandchildren.

One person is in custody at this time and police say the investigation is still in the early stages. 

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m.

Police are now providing more details about a serious incident that unfolded at a church in Salmon Arm on Sunday.

Cpl. Chris Manseau tells Castanet a man has been taken into custody after a "possible shooting" at a church. 

“The area is contained and we have an indication (that) there is no active or ongoing threat,” said Manseau.

Paramedics were called to the Church of Christ just after 10:30 a.m. on Sunday and say they transported one man to hospital by air ambulance.

“We had two patients and we transported one,” said Amy Robertson, spokesperson for BC Emergency Health Services.

Witnesses from the scene said people were visibly upset and crying outside the church.

“A lot of crying, and obviously upset people,” said one witness. "I overheard several people behind the RCMP tape say it was a shooting.”

RCMP have not confirmed if there was a shooting at the scene. BC Ambulance would not provide any further details about the injuries.

“We are at the very early stages of the investigation and will provide an update later today,” said Manseau.

UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.

Police are investigating after an incident at a church in Salmon Arm on Sunday.

One person was taken from the scene to hospital by air ambulance and officers have surrounded the Salmon Arm Church of Christ.

Witnesses at the scene describe people are visibly upset and crying outside the church.

Castanet spoke with an officer at the Salmon Arm RCMP detachment who said they are currently investigating at the scene of the church and will provide more details when they are finished.

ORIGINAL: 11:50 a.m.

An air ambulance helicopter has landed in Salmon Arm on Sunday morning and police have surrounded a church. 

Witnesses on scene say the MedEvac landed in Blackburn Park and paramedics entered the Salmon Arm Church of Christ.

One victim was seen being removed from the church and placed in the air ambulance. 

Unconfirmed reports indicate there might have been a shooting, but RCMP have not confirmed. 

“A lot of crying, and obviously upset people outside the church,” said one witness. "I overheard several people behind the RCMP tape say it was a shooting."

Castanet will update once more information becomes available. 

Evacuation alert in Sorrento

An evacuation alert has been issued for two homes in Sorrento.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District issued the notice following a geotechnical assessment of the area.

The assessment was performed due to ongoing issues with stream flow and channel erosion at Newsome Creek.

The creek is actively eroding the slope of the creek channel along several properties, which is creating stability issues that could potentially impact above properties and human safety

The evacuation alert affects the properties at 2807 and 2809 Caen Road in Sorrento. 

An evacuation alert was previously issued on May 3, 2018, for 11 properties located on Caen Road. It was rescinded on October 24, 2018. 
At that time, the hazard associated with the flow of Newsome Creek actively eroding the slope of the creek channel had subsided, lessening the risk of a sudden slope failure.

With higher stream flows, an alert has been implemented for these two properties.

Owners of the affected properties have been notified and were advised to ensure all residents on the property need to be prepared to evacuate on short notice.

Residents are also advised to monitor the creek and report any significant changes, avoid the zone five metres from the crest edge of the creek channel and refer to recommendations within the CSRD's emergency assessment report, as well as the recent letters from the CSRD with updated information.

Residents should be prepared to evacuate their property on short notice by:

Gathering essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (e.g. insurance, photographs, etc.) and have these items readily available for quick departure;

  • Preparing to move any disabled persons and children;
  • Moving pets and livestock to a safe area;
  • Arranging to transport household members or co-workers in the event of an evacuation order;
  • Arranging accommodation for family if possible;

If  emergency support services are required, call 250-833-2424.

Granny to the rescue

There is no sitting around with pair of knitting needles for this Shuswap senior.

When the call for help goes out, Lester McInally responds.

As soon as she hears the pager, she heads to the White Lake Firehall and pulls on her turnout gear before hopping on the fire truck. Not bad for a 73-year-old grandmother.

McInally has never actually fought a fire, but is there in a support role.

"I've never been the one to pick up a hose," said the super senior. "But I'm part of the team, just being there, volunteering. When that pager goes off, I'm down at the hall. I'm there because I know I'm needed."

McInally has filled a variety of roles, mostly in staging at fire scenes, which ensures someone is keeping track of all the firefighters, managing rest breaks and where various personnel have been assigned.

She also will act as a scribe for the chief or incident commander, taking notes to ensure proper records are kept.

"Accountability is very important. It's something we take very seriously," she said. "It's for everyone's safety."

It's been 17 years since McInally moved with her husband to the area, and the couple decided they should get involved with the fire department. It was also a way to meet neighbours, many of whom are now friends.

"I wanted to live somewhere rural, but with a firehall. That's important for safety and insurance. So we just felt like if we wanted this, we should support it."

Fighting for her life

UPDATE: 5:30 p.m.

A woman is in hospital suffering serious, life-threatening injuries after a man allegedly assaulted her early Tuesday morning.

Sicamous and Salmon Arm police responded to Riverside Avenue at 6:20 a.m. after receiving a report that a man was assaulting a woman.

A woman was found suffering from trauma inside an apartment near Riverside Avenue. 

Police arrested a 26-year-old man and he remains in custody. 

Sgt. Murray McNeil said the male suspect was arrested for attempted murder. 

The man and the woman are known to each other. 

Anyone with information relating to this matter are urged to contact the Sicamous RCMP Detachment at (250) 836-2878.

ORIGINAL: 4:35 p.m.

Police have arrested a man for attempted murder in Sicamous. 

RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil confirms with Castanet a man has been arrested in connection to an incident on Tuesday morning.

More details coming…

Success with at-risk kids

An intervention program in the North Okanagan-Shuswap has helped 236 of its most at-risk students, who are now reading at grade level.

"We know that reading at grade level by Grade 3 is one of the best predictors of success in life. We also know that this program has changed the trajectory of these students," teacher Jen Kelly says in a report to School District 83.

Over the past eight years, the program has expanded to eight schools, and "intervention teachers are working hard to change the educational trajectory of Grade 1 children struggling the most to learn how to read."

A total of 337 students have gone through the program, where students work one-on-one or in small groups with the teachers. Students receive special instruction four to five days a week, 30 minutes a day for anywhere from 12 to 20 weeks, depending on need.

Some students still struggle after the intervention, "which indicates that there may be something else hindering the child’s learning. Because of the information collected during literacy intervention, children are usually able to streamlined into assessment and testing," says Kelly.


Research shows the intervention is paying off. "Literacy intervention is sticking with our students," she said. “We are only seeing them once.”

The district has hired an early literacy intervention specialist to work specifically with Indigenous students, to improve success rates. Also, nine schools in the district do not have the program.

Easier to click and learn

Students in a small Shuswap community now gave a greater opportunity to click, browse and learn.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District recently donated nine surplus computers, one printer, a server, a network switch and a firewall to the Malakwa Learning Centre.

In addition to the equipment donation, the CSRD contributed IT staff time to ensure the computers were refurbished, set up and working properly.

"The very generous donation of computers and necessary equipment and the time of staff to install it from the CSRD has added so much to the Malakwa Learning Centre," said Rhona Martin, CSRD board chairperson.

"This donation will open up opportunities for those in our community that are wanting to learn.”

The equipment is making its debut as part of the Experience Works program, currently running in Malakwa.

The program helps people 55-plus gain skills needed to find employment. The program is a partnership between the province, regional district, Okanagan College and the Malakwa Learning Centre.

It includes courses to upgrade skills in basic math, communications and computer use, as well as offering hospitality industry training, such as FoodSafe certification.

"It is improving the skills of older workers which, at the end of the day, improves quality of life, health and community," said Martin.

The equipment will be permanently located at the Malakwa centre.

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