Three days after a Stewart Road raid rattled a Salt Spring Island family — and ignited an island-wide gossip firestorm — Salt Spring RCMP and Vancouver Island GIS announced their investigation into an island resident has ended, and no charges will be recommended.
Friday morning, Aug. 26, acting senior media relations officer for the BC RCMP Sgt. Chris Manseau announced the conclusion of the investigation, which had culminated in a dramatic search warrant involving dozens of officers, a helicopter, and an armoured vehicle, as well several other RCMP vehicles.
“The investigation has now concluded, and police determined there was no criminality with respect to the property or its owner,” said Sgt. Manseau. “The investigators have provided an update to those directly impacted and the file will be concluded without any charges being recommended.”
Sgt. Manseau added that the large number of officers and equipment were used due to the nature of the initial information received, to “ensure the safety of the community and the police officers on scene.”
Beachside Cafe owner Jason Watkin identified himself as the centre of the investigation, and said while the experience was harrowing, the professionalism and sincerity of the officers involved was moving when they came to his home to inform him he would not be facing charges.
“[The RCMP] sent the boss’ boss’ boss, that’s what they called him,” said Watkin. “They gave me huge apologies. They thought I’d react totally differently. And then we didn’t. And then we all hugged at the end.”
As a group of Watkin’s supporters gathered at an afternoon rally that serendipitously coincided with the RCMP announcement, Watkin said he looked forward to the healing.
“I know I share viewpoints people don’t agree with,” said Watkin. “But there’s tons of people from all sides, because of this scary situation, that are just ‘let’s drop all this and be Salt Spring again.’ I felt that.”
The RCMP’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Vancouver Island General Investigation Section had executed a search warrant at a Stewart Road residence on Tuesday, Aug. 23, as part of a firearms investigation. Salt Spring RCMP expressed its thanks to the public for their patience while the investigation took place.
“They apologized a lot of times,” said Watkin. “It’s over, everything’s dropped, everything’s done.”