UPDATE 12:55 p.m.
Police say an improvised explosive device found in Kelowna Monday was “sophisticated” in nature, but investigators don’t believe the incident was targeted.
Insp. Beth McAndie said at a news conference Tuesday an initial investigation into the bomb has shown the device “is not linked to any other incidents throughout the city or the province.”
The device, which was described as a pipe bomb by the pedestrian who called it into police, was found at around 12 p.m. Monday near the Wendy's fast food store at 2070 Harvey Avenue.
While it does not appear the incident was targeted, McAndie says the Kelowna RCMP and BC RCMP explosives disposal unit are taking the matter “very seriously.”
“The [explosives disposal unit] team are assisting in our investigation, conducting tests to determine the contents of the device and further forensic examination is taking place,” McAndie continued.
She described the investigation as still in its “infancy.”
“Having had a debrief with our EDU team, they advised me this morning that it was a sophisticated device, meaning that had it been activated, they believe it would have been successful at detonation.”
McAndie clarified that the device was not “detonated” Monday evening by officers but was rather “rendered safe,” while declining to elaborate on the process.
She also refused to speculate on the impact of the device had it been detonated prior to police arrival, or how long the device had been there before being called in.
“We will be doing an extensive canvass of businesses in the area and seeking the assistance of anybody [who] … can offer some sort of surveillance footage that will help us assist in further inquiries in regards to how long the device has been there, how it got there.”
McAndie thanked the public for its patience while crews dealt with the situation, which forced the closure of Highway 97 for several hours and created traffic headaches for the afternoon commute.
Responding to questions about the long wait for the BC RCMP’s bomb squad to drive to Kelowna from the Lower Mainland, McAndie said there is one explosives disposal unit that serves all of B.C.
“I've had the privilege of working with them in the past, they are absolute professionals and respond as quickly and as timely as they can,” she said.
ORIGINAL 9 a.m.
The Kelowna RCMP will be holding a news conference today at 12:30 p.m. on Monday's incident involving a bomb.
The RCMP explosives disposal unit successfully defused the explosive device found Monday afternoon, near the Wendy's restaurant on Harvey Avenue.
The highway remained closed in both directions for about seven hours between Spall and Cooper Roads.
The EDU, which drove from the Lower Mainland, arrived on the scene just after 6 p.m. and safely defused the device shortly after 7 p.m.
The news conference this afternoon providing an update will be streamed live on Castanet.
A statement from Insp. Beth McAndie will be shared and media will be able to ask questions.