The investigation into an armed robbery of a gas station at 150 Mile House near Williams Lake early Wednesday morning (June 15) was linked to an hours-long, highly visible standoff with police in the city.
It all started at about 4:10 a.m. just south of the city after an unknown man walked into the 150 Mile House Esso, confronted the lone employee, produce a firearm and fled the store with cash and merchandise.
About five hours later the RCMP honed in on a multi-family building well-known to police in the residential neighbourhood of Ninth Avenue where the suspect vehicle was located.
Heavily armed RCMP blocked off the street at about 9 a.m. surrounding the building and cautioned the public to stay away from the area as they waited for back up from the RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) out of Prince George, about two-and-a-half hours away.
The adjacent residences were evacuated and no one was let back into the controlled area.
Throughout the morning, police used bullhorns to alert the suspects inside the building they were under arrest and to come out with their hands up.
Once the ERT arrived just before noon, helmeted officers in armoured vests concentrated their efforts the building.
A loud bang and smoke was visible not long before two suspects exited the rear of the building with their hands up.
The two exited down a set of back stairs and were taken away in an RCMP vehicle.
Another loud bang was set off, producing smoke again at the back of the apartment, and RCMP continued to use a bullhorn to tell anyone still inside to come out with hands up.
A small pop sound was heard, but no movement was visible from outside the controlled perimeter.
At the front of the building, ERT members brought out a mini-drone, which was then used to further assess the situation.
An ambulance did arrive on scene toward the end of the incident.
Neighbours on the scene said the building is frequently attended by RCMP.
Once the scene was cleared just after 1 p.m., RCMP confirmed three people were located inside the residence and several arrests were made without incident. There were no reports of injuries.
RCMP noted the robbery investigation continues and further details may be released as they become available. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Williams Lake RCMP at 250 392-6211.