Axe-wielding man that had standoff with RCMP pleads guilty

Crown counsel praised the actions of a South Okanagan police officer.

RCMP

Crown counsel praised the actions of a South Okanagan police officer who was able to bring a man trying to get shot by police into custody unharmed.

Nathanael Terrance Douglas, 19, pleaded guilty to carrying, using or threatening to use a weapon in Penticton Provincial Court Dec. 29.

Just after 7 p.m. on Oct. 25 Keremeos RCMP responded to a report of a suicidal male stabbing himself with a steak knife on 10th avenue in Keremeos.

Const. Sheldon Herman arrived on scene and ordered Douglas to drop the large axe he was holding. Douglas moved towards the officer holding the axe above his shoulder. Herman then drew his service pistol and again ordered Douglas to drop the axe. He again refused and continued to move towards the officer who was walking backwards with his pistol still drawn. The Mountie used his pepper spray with two bursts to Douglas’ face from approximately four feet away. Douglas dropped the axe allowing the officer to tackle him to the ground.

“Constable Herman showed tremendous restraint in the way he dealt with Mr. Douglas. This was a very dangerous situation which had the potential to involve lethal force used by police against Mr. Douglas. It’s very fortunate that’s not what happened,” said Crown Counsel Kurt Froehlich.

Douglas, who has no prior record, also told police after his arrest that he wanted to die and Herman should have shot him. Douglas’ grandmother advised police that he was drunk and high on cocaine during the time of the offence, which Douglas later admitted, stating he consumed seven grams of cocaine and two bottles of vodka. A psychological assessment determined Douglas was criminally responsible for his actions.

Defence counsel Kathryn Lundman asked for six months house arrest for her client, however Judge Gail Sinclair sentenced Douglas to six months jail.

Douglas has remained in custody for three months since his initial arrest. With pre-trial custody credit included, Douglas has just under three months remaining on his sentence. He also has 12 months of probation.

“It’s a booze and dope issue, that’s what it is,” said Judge Gail Sinclair while handing down the sentence. “You better get a handle on that because you keep it up and you’re either a jail guy or a dead guy. I’ve seen enough of it over 28 and a half years up here to know that. You’re a young guy, you better have a look in the mirror.”