Creston man car-jacked near Yahk, suspect caught in Cranbrook

Man suspected of car-jacking in Creston area apprehended after car chase comes to an end.

Members of the Independent Investigations Office from Surrey arrived in Cranbrook Wednesday to check out the scene where a suspected car-jacker was apprehended and taken to hospital after being shot by an RCMP officer.

Lorne Eckersley, Creston Valley Advance

Creston’s Alan Armstrong was making a routine run to Cranbrook on Tuesday evening when his trip turned into a nightmare that later ended with a shooting in Cranbrook.

“I was hauling parts on Highway 3 through Goatfell (west of Yahk) when I saw a guy waving me down on the road. He said he had run out of gas and had no money and needed a ride,” Armstrong said on Tuesday morning.

It was snowing and Armstrong was on a timeline, so he told the man and his girlfriend to get in quickly.

“Then I said to him, ‘If you were going to Cranbrook, why was your car faced in the other direction by the road?’ I guess I shouldn’t have said anything. He grabbed my head and smashed it against the door.”

“Pull over (mother…), or I’ll blow your (expletive) skull open!’ he screamed. He was screaming and shaking. I got my truck pulled over and he pushed a gun against my head.

”The carjacker pepper-sprayed Armstrong, then pushed him out the truck before tearing off in the 2006 Toyota Forerunner.

Armstrong said he was vomiting, he could barely see and mucous was pouring through his nose as he staggered around and tried to get his bearings.

“I’d had enough wits about me to grab my cell phone as I was being pushed from the truck so I managed to dial 911. But of course there is no cell coverage out there.”

He saw a residence nearby with a light in the window and made his way to the front door, where pounded on the door, screaming and crying for help.

But his ordeal wasn’t quite over. A male resident opened the door, armed with a rifle, fearing that he himself was about to be a victim.

“It was dark and they weren’t about to let me into the house until they knew what was going on, so he brought his car around so the headlights could shine on me,” Armstrong said. “Then they saw what a mess I was and brought me into their house.”

He used the residents’ landline to call 911 and was informed that Cranbrook and Creston RCMP and a police dog were already responding.

An ambulance arrived to transport Armstrong to Creston Valley Hospital, but it had to make a few stops along the way as the smell of pepper spray was overwhelming the paramedics, Armstrong said.

He was released from hospital early Wednesday morning. While initial media reports said the carjacker was pulled over in Yahk, he was actually stopped in Cranbrook, Creston RCMP Staff Sergeant Bob Gollan said on Wednesday.

Sally MacDonald, Cranbrook Daily Townsman

At around 10:30 p.m., an RCMP officer tried to stop a vehicle that was suspected to have been carjacked near Creston earlier in the day.

A car chase ensued, ending when the suspect reached a dead end at the top of Victoria Avenue, beside the College of the Rockies Gold Creek campus.

Nearby residents reported hearing gun shots, seeing a lone police car then hearing shouting.

According to RCMP, during the incident an officer fired his service pistol, hitting the male suspect. The suspect was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A female suspect who was a passenger in the vehicle is also in police custody. The police officer was not hurt.

The scene has been secured pending an investigation by the newly formed Independent Investigations Office of B.C.

Six personnel from the IIO were sent from Surrey to Cranbrook on Wednesday morning, arriving around 11 a.m. and taking control of the scene.