Traffic was backed up for a few kilometres on Hwy. 97 past Falkland toward Westwold. DriveBC reported the highway has been partially re-opened. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Eyewitness hears 19 shots fired in Westwold police incident

Two arrested after dynamic incident that shut down Hwy. 97 Tuesday

A heavy police presence in the Falkland-Westwold area is not common, but on Tuesday, Dec. 3, eyewitness Trevor Caldwell saw a vehicle drive into a farmer’s field behind a church after driving over a spike belt deployed by North Okanagan RCMP.

“It was in an open hay field in the back, about 200 yards behind the church,” Trevor Caldwell said, describing where the car came to its final stop behind Saint Luke’s Church and Cemetery. “The police drove in and stopped their vehicles just at the end of the church property about 100-150 yards from the vehicle.”

That’s when Caldwell heard shots fired.

“We heard — at least in my mind — approximately 19 shots,” he said. “But that was in the heat of the moment so it could have been more or less.”

Caldwell lives across from the church and while he couldn’t directly see the confrontation, he could hear it.

Caldwell couldn’t tell who was doing the shooting, but he did witness the scene’s conclusion.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Highway partially re-opens following alleged shots fired near Falkland

“The male occupant left the car heading towards the police and then stopped about halfway and put his arms in the air and stayed in that position for 15 or 20 minutes before the police approached him,” he said.

A man and woman were placed in custody following the dynamic incident that unfolded quickly and shut down Highway 97 between the Falkland and Westwold for several hours.

With the use of a tire deflation device, officers were able to bring the vehicle to a stop east of Westwold, where two occupants were taken into custody without further incident.

North Okanagan RCMP were assisted by the Southeast District Emergency Response Team (SED ERT), RCMP Police Dog Services, and a RCMP fixed wing aircraft from Kelowna Air Services.

Out of an abundance of caution, RCMP also ordered the lock down of Westwold Elementary School. That order has since been lifted.

RCMP are not aware of any serious injuries as a result of this dynamic police incident at this time.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP were notified of a suspicious vehicle in the Falkland area just before 8 a.m.

“RCMP officers controlled access to the highway and strategically set up roadblocks in an attempt to safely stop the vehicle,” media relations officer Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy said. “The driver failed to stop for police and allegedly fired shots from the vehicle as it fled from our officers, posing a serious risk to public safety.”

READ MORE: Prince Rupert man who killed foster parents in 2017 receives three-year sentence

READ MORE: Man accused in fatal Salmon Arm church shooting also charged with arson


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

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

Just Posted

COLUMN: Choosing a face to show the world

It will not be easy to select the face to display on Canada’s new $5 bill

Summerland Steam lose twice in Junior B hockey action

Next action for Junior B hockey team is on Friday, Jan. 17 in Summerland

Summerland drama students to stage Matilda

Story by Roald Dahl will be presented at Centre Stage Theatre in February

Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

Yesterday a fatal collision on Hwy 97 claimed the life of one individual

Scholarship receives funds from KIJHL

Launched in September, the scholarship is available to all KIJHL players

Older Canadians highlighted in Kelowna film project to fight ageism

The project is part of a campaign to combat ageism

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Princeton – a Prince Town in waiting?

The Town of Princeton has been waiting 160 years for a Royal… Continue reading

Group builds shelters for Vernon’s stray cats

Twenty insulated cat shelters were constructed by volunteers and delivered around town

UBCO partners with Boeing to test new anti-ice coating technology

The coating could one day be applied to all airplanes to prevent ice buildup

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

True Stories: Okanagan memoir-writers, reading

Reading with local North Okanagan writers Art Dalton, Patti Shales Lefkos, Raven Dahl, Janelle Hardy

Kelowna’s last video store, Leo’s Videos, to remain open despite failed sale

Kelowna’s last video rental store will remain open and under its namesake’s ownership

Most Read