The all-day police standoff on Rutland's Cactus Road Thursday began after officers first noticed a “suspicious” vehicle parked at a home on the residential road.
In a press release Friday morning, the Kelowna RCMP says officers first noticed a white Ford Escape that had been “previously deemed suspicious” parked at 1075 Cactus Road just after 9 a.m. Police did not disclose why the vehicle had been considered suspicious.
While monitoring the “suspicious” SUV, an officer saw two people enter the vehicle and drive to a nearby gas station.
The officer followed the two people to the station and attempted to approach the vehicle, but they took off, “swerving in and out of oncoming traffic,” according to police. The officer did not pursue the vehicle.
Another officer located a firearm and ammunition on the side of the road in the area where the Escape had fled. Police believe it had been thrown from the window of the fleeing SUV.
Later that morning, police found the same Escape back at the Cactus Road home.
“After viewing the neighbourhood surveillance camera footage and following footprints in the snow, officers determined that the occupants of the Escape in fact made their way back to the original address, which was familiar with police,” the Kelowna RCMP said in its press release.
“Due to the combination of events and initial reports of the suspicious vehicle, several RCMP officers, the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and the Police Dog Services (PDS) were deployed to the area.”
The standoff outside the home began at about 10 a.m. with a number of officers and ERT members stationed outside the home. Officers used a loudspeaker to tell the occupants of the home to exit with their hands up, while police waited to secure a search warrant for the home.
The Kelowna RCMP says seven people were taken into custody throughout the day. But police didn't execute the search warrant until about 8:30 p.m. While officers continued to use their loudspeaker before executing their search warrant, the residence was empty when officers finally entered the home.
Cactus Road was closed near Monterey Road for most of the day Thursday as a result of the incident.
Police were unable to say whether any charges have been laid against any of the seven people who were taken into custody. The investigation is ongoing.
In a strange development during the standoff, police were forced to turn their attention to a home two doors down from 1075 Cactus Road, when a person who was unrelated to the standoff allegedly threatened officers at the scene.
“One of the occupants of that house, for whatever reason, decided he didn't like police in his neighbourhood, or whatever the situation was, and he started making some threats to the police officers,” said Kelowna RCMP spokesperson Const. Mike Const. Della-Paolera Thursday evening.
“Unfortunately he didn't realize that he was also a man who had two warrants for his arrest.”
The man temporarily barricaded himself inside his home, but police were eventually able to arrest him without incident. Police seized three firearms during his arrest.
“It was an interesting day,” said Const. Della-Paolera. “Our teams did an incredible job securing the neighbourhood and juggling the two unfolding incidents. It once again showed the cohesiveness of our teams working together to bring this stressful situation to a close.”