Firearms warrant brings heavy police presence to Salt Spring

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An unusual number of police vehicles — including an armoured personnel carrier and a helicopter — descended on Salt Spring Tuesday, arresting one person and leaving an island scratching its collective head.

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, Salt Spring RCMP, along with officers from the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Vancouver Island General Investigation Section executed a search warrant at a Stewart Road residence, according to District Advisory NCO Sgt. Chris Manseau. The search was part of a firearms investigation, Sgt.Manseau said, and while officers made a single arrest, that person has since been released.

No public alert was issued, and while islanders can expect to see an increased RCMP presence for the next few days as the investigation continues, Sgt. Manseau and Salt Spring RCMP Corp. Matthew Crist said there was no threat to the public — and that RCMP did not expect to release any further details, either on the warrant or on the individual who was arrested.

“For now, all I can say is that everyone is safe at this time,” said Corporal Crist, “both public and the police.”

Charges have not yet been recommended to the BC Prosecution office. In a post on social media, Beachside Cafe and kayak tours company owner Jason Watkin said he had been interrogated by RCMP.

In addition to more familiar police vehicles, an RCMP International MXT Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) was on the morning ferry into Fulford Harbour, and was spotted by Driftwood staff leaving the detachment building for the evening sailing back to Swartz Bay in the late afternoon. The APC is commonly utilized by ERT deployments, although rarely seen in the Southern Gulf Islands.

The helicopter circled the area near the Stewart Road residence part of the morning, before powering down on the field in front of the Gulf Islands Secondary School. School is not currently in session.

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