Investigators looking for witnesses, dash-cam footage showing suspect vehicle in weekend shootout near Merritt

IIO seeks shootout witnesses

B.C.’s police watchdog is looking for witnesses to a shootout involving police near Merritt last weekend that landed a man and a child in hospital.

Mounties were attempting to pull over a vehicle believed to be linked to an ongoing property crime investigation on Sunday near Quilchena when it fled.

More than an hour later, between 5:10 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., the truck was spotted in a number of locations — near Quilchena and Highway 5A, on Highway 5A between Quilchena and Nicola Avenue, on Highway 5A at Nicola Avenue in Merritt and at the junction of Highway 8 and Highway 97C near Snake Road, northwest of Merritt.

B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office is asking anyone in any of those areas who might have dash-cam footage to call the IIO witness line at 1-855-446-8477.

Police have said the exchanged fire with a suspect in the truck. Both the suspect and a child, believed to be an 11-year-old boy, were injured.

Gerald Hartley Cooper, 44, is facing five counts of attempted murder with a firearm stemming from the alleged shootout and one count of failing to stop. He has been in custody since his arrest on Sunday.

The IIO, the province’s civilian-led police watchdog, looks into any incident in B.C. involving police in which someone is killed or seriously injured.

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