File photo

Man who was carrying knife tackled at Nanaimo’s night market

RCMP make arrest after market-goer chases suspect downtown

A man wielding a knife at the Thursday night street market was arrested by Nanaimo RCMP after he was tackled by a market-goer.

Gregory Long and his wife had just arrived at the downtown night market Thursday when they came upon a man holding a knife to his chin and uttering obscenities.

“We were just walking in … and there was this real [messed] up guy and he had a knife to his throat and he’s freaking out these guys at a booth that are trying to sell [stuff],” Long said.

Long called 911 and stayed on the phone with the operator while he and his wife followed the man who was moving off through the crowd. Long, knowing the man was armed, was trying to keep him in sight. The man had put the knife in his pocket, but then started to approach Long.

“He did a roundhouse kick and knocked a planter – they have those four-foot planters on the sidewalks – and he knocked that out,” Long said.

When the man headed toward another vendor booth Long positioned himself in front of the man and told him the police were on their way.

“I said, ‘Just stand there. You’re not going anywhere…’” said Long, who used to be a boxer. “I said, ‘if you put your hands in your pockets I’m going to knock you out’ … I was just waiting for the cops. I wasn’t doing anything stupid. If he went for his pocket I was going to smoke him.”

Once a security guard intervened, the suspect threw his knife in a vendor’s basket and started running down the street. Long gave chase and eventually tackled the suspect. Police arrived and put both men in handcuffs until witnesses explained what had happened and Long was released. He was treated by paramedics at the scene for a broken thumb sustained when he fell during the chase.

Nanaimo RCMP Staff Sgt. John Blaase confirmed that one man was arrested, held in custody overnight and was expected to make a court appearance today, June 28.

“I think there was a little bit of self-medication involved…” Blaase said. “I guess it got a little bit of excitement down there, but the arrest itself was a non-event … When there’s the possibility of mental health issues and self-medication concerns, we have to take those into consideration, obviously, for public safety.”

Kim Smythe, CEO of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce CEO, which organizes the event, said the night market is safe, with many security measures both visible and “behind the scenes.”

“Thousands of people come down, unfortunately last night a few people witnessed something that went wrong,” he said.

Smythe said the police response was “fabulous,” with numerous officers immediately on scene. He said the chamber will meet with RCMP and city staff on Tuesday “to go over the incident and to talk about how we can further improve the situation.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo RCMP arrest knife-wielding man near Beban Park

READ ALSO: Nanaimo RCMP investigate report of man in Santa hat wielding sword



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Faulty janitorial equipment likely caused Saanich school fire

Saturday morning fire damaged roof of Strawberry Vale Elementary

Greater Victoria records highest unemployment in history with 11 per cent

Past peak was 7.8 per cent more than a decade ago, according to South Island Prosperity Partnership

Human behaviour likely to deter birds from Esquimalt Lagoon, survey suggests

More Great Blue Herons spotted, fewer mallard ducks seen

Garth Homer Society in Saanich turns lemons into lemonade with online programs

Victoria disability organization sets up online programs and learning tools in wake of COVID-19

Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre to host a trio of acts

Aaron Pritchett, Alex Cuba and Valdy will each play four shows

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read