Saanich police are investigating a string of incidents which saw a fake firearm used dangerously in public Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 15).
At approximately 3:20 p.m., police received a report that an individual had been walking in the 4600-block of Elk Lake Drive when a van pulled up beside them and one occupant pointed and fired a gun which only made noise, similar to a cap gun, before the van drove off.
Police received a report only a few minutes later that three men were walking through a shopping centre in the 4500-block of West Saanich Road brandishing handguns in their waistbands. Just after 3:40 p.m., a witness reported seeing the suspects, now wearing balaclavas, get into a van near the Saanich Fire Hall on Royal Oak Drive.
In a news release, the Saanich Police Department said officers located the van on Elk Lake Drive near Normandy Road and conducted a high-risk police stop before safely arresting all three suspects. A subsequent search of the van found two cap guns as well as a balaclava.
The department said while all three suspects, one adult and two youths, are known to police, the motive of their actions remains under investigation.
“While we continue to investigate, detectives are seeking any other witnesses or persons that may have interacted with these suspects to come forward and talk to police,” spokesperson Const. Markus Anastasiades said in the release.
“Due to the nature of the call, there was a very heavy police response in that area that caused some traffic disruptions and likely raised some questions. Police treat all firearm calls as real threats to public safety and we will continue to respond accordingly.”
The three suspects were later released on conditions and could face several recommended charges including possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, use of an imitation firearm during the commission of an offence, disguise with intent and mischief.
Anyone who may have interacted with any of the suspects is asked to contact the Saanich Police Department at 250-475-4356.
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