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Judge shows compassion to Penticton war vet at centre of police standoff

FILE PHOTO - Police shut down a portion of Martin Street on Monday morning, March 7, 2016, to deal with a distraught man. A Penticton war vet who was at the centre of the police incident was prohibited from possessing firearms for five years in Penticton court Monday, June 13, 2016.
June 13, 2016 - 8:00 PM

PENTICTON - A war vet who was the central figure in a police standoff in Penticton earlier this year made an appearance in Penticton court today.

Allen Norman Gascon, 51, appeared before Judge Brad Chapman to face the consequences stemming from a March 7 incident in which a suicidal Gascon threatened Department of Veterans Affairs personnel.

Crown Prosecutor Ann Lerechs told court Penticton RCMP responded to Gascon's Martin Street apartment after receiving a call about threats made against a Veteran Affairs case manager in the city.

Gascon had allegedly made threats to use a gun against the case manager and an operator at the Veteran’s Affairs call centre in Ottawa.

Police initiated a conversation with Gascon on his cell phone, who claimed he had a loaded .357 gun along with ammunition in the apartment. He told police he had nothing to live for and they were going to have to kill him, threatening to leave his apartment with a gun pointed at the officers in order to force them to shoot him.

RCMP managed to talk Gascon out of the residence peacefully. He was taken to Penticton Regional Hospital where he was treated. Inside Gascon’s residence, they recovered a Crossman pellet revolver.

Gascon, who didn't have a lawyer and represented himself, told the court he was a former Canadian Armed Forces soldier and a seven year veteran. He said five of those years were served in the regular forces and two in the militia. He had completed combat tours in the Gulf, Nicaragua and Panama.

He said he had suffered bullying, harassment, threats and frustration from his case manager over a two year period and had been unable to convince Veteran’s Affairs to reassign him.

Since the March 7 incident, he has been assigned a new case manager and is getting along well.

The death of his son a few years ago also accentuated his post traumatic stress syndrome, Gascon testified.

“When you lose your son, you’ve got nothing else to live for,” he told Judge Chapman.

The judge was sympathetic to Gascon’s predicament, thanking him for his service in the armed forces, noting Gascon’s recent treatment for his issues seemed to have put him on a path to get beyond his despair.

Gascon said he “truly was trying to move on from the past" and hoped someday to help seniors and veterans with similar issues. He said he would comply with whatever decision court handed down.

“I just want this over with,” he said.

On one count of fear of injury or damage by another person, Judge Chapman imposed a five year firearms ban in addition to a one year peace bond to keep him from physically contacting his former case manager and the Veteran Affairs office in Penticton. He’s also not to indulge in alcohol outside his residence and to undergo any treatment or therapy deemed applicable.


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