Two VicPD officers helped to stop a sexual assault in Hawaii this week. (Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS)

UPDATED: Man faces sexual assault charges in Hawaii after off-duty Victoria police officers stop assault

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak ‘very proud’ of officers

Victoria’s police chief says he’s “very proud” of two off-duty VicPD officers he says stopped a sexual assault while on vacation in Hawaii.

Chief Del Manak says Const. Hayley Swann and Const. Brent Keddell were out for a morning run on Dec. 31 in a park in Kona, on the Big Island, when they heard a woman screaming.

“As they get closer they hear a definite scream, they can tell it’s a cry for help,” Manak says. “They start running towards the woman.”

They found two women, one injured and in serious distress. Keddell noticed a man walking away and approached him.

The officers’ “instincts kicked in” – Keddell helping a witness speak with 911 dispatchers, while keeping his eyes on the suspect, and Swann, who works as a domestic violence investigator, helping to calm down the victims.

Police arrived and took Justin Michael Bardwell, 32, into custody. He was charged with open lewdness, fourth degree sexual assault and second-degree terroristic threatening and kidnapping. Before his arrest Bardwell was wanted by police in connection with the arson of a vacation rental home in Volcano.

READ ALSO: Drivers flee VicPD’s first impaired driving roadblocks of December

According to Black Press Media’s West Hawaii Today, the two women spoke at a preliminary hearing in Kona District Court on Tuesday. They both testified to coming across Bardwell masturbating on a public path.

When he spotted them he began to chase them, yelling “stop, obey me, I’m going to get you.”

The women said they ran but one of them fell down and Bardwell jumped on top of her, keeping her pinned to the ground. He threw rocks at her friend when she tried to help, eventually getting up and chasing her too. The women escaped him and made it to a group of people nearby who had heard their cries for help.

Keddell and Swan both gave evidence and will likely be called back for the trial, according to Manak. The police chief is extremely proud of how his team members responded, saying there were no two better officers to have been there in that moment.

“As a police chief I’m extremely proud of the actions these officers took, the fact they intervened, their level of professionalism and compassion,” he says. “They protected their own safety and prevented and stopped what was a really violent attack.”

“I’m really grateful they were there to help.”

READ ALSO: Drivers flee VicPD’s first impaired driving roadblocks of December



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
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

Sternwheelers once plied Okanagan Lake

Vessels once transported passengers and goods along the Okanagan Valley

Fires ignite on Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie; Kamloops Fire Centre blazes holding

Crews working throughout region over holiday weekend to contain wildfires

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

New ICBC data shows number of collisions in South Okanagan, Similkameen, by city and street

Penticton, Oliver, Summerland top charts for most vehicle crashes in 2019

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Reported Big White wildfire dubbed ‘smoke chase’

Crews responded to the area but could not locate a fire

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Wildfire in West Kelowna’s Rose Valley grows to 3 hectares

The fire was first reported at around 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 2.

Man found dead in van on Okanagan road

Foul play not suspected in death of 39-year-old West Kelowna man found in Vernon Saturday, Aug. 1

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Most Read