WATCH: Suspect detained, Saanich Police confirm weapons threat a false alarm

Police event ends, residents return to their homes, shortly before noon, Friday, Feb. 22

Residents returned to comfort of their homes shortly before noon Friday, more than four hours after police were called to the 800-block of Vernon Avenue.

The Saanich Police Department responded to reports of a man with a weapon at an apartment building in that block around 7 a.m. after the building alarm was set off (around 6:30 a.m.).

One man has been apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital for assessment. Police are satisfied that there was no one with a weapon of any kind in or around the apartment building. It’s believed the suspect sat in a police car for several hours until he was taken away.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria police add heavily armoured vehicle to arsenal

“Information led officers to focus on one particular apartment however after a careful entry and search of it, no one and nothing of concern was found,” says Saanich Police Sgt. Julie Fast.

Police in tactical gear from the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team entered the building around 9 a.m. with firearms (shotguns and carbines), a battering ram and a shield and entered the building. At 9:30 a.m. a remote robot was deployed.

The call originated after someone heard a man in the hallway talking about someone having a firearm, which prompted calls to 911 and the fire alarm being pulled, says Sgt. Julie Fast.

Residents reported a man was frantically running around naked at about 2:30 a.m. It’s unsure if the two are related.

Due to the nature of the call and the need to ensure public safety, specialized police resources were called in to assist including the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team and K9 team, along with ambulance and Saanich fire personnel. The building was locked down while officers conducted an extensive search, with residents either directed to leave or shelter in place.

Information led officers to focus on one particular apartment however after a careful entry and search of it, no one and nothing of concern was found.

“We take all calls where someone’s safety may be at risk very seriously and will use whatever resources we have available to determine what has happened and to bring things to a safe conclusion” said Fast, Saanich Police public information officer.

Residents have returned to their homes and all lanes on Vernon Avenue are once again open.

nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

– with files by Travis Paterson


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