ERT TEAM BLOCKS NEIGHBOURHOOD: NO WEAPONS SEIZED, NO CHARGES LAID
KAMLOOPS - Mounties weren't taking any chances when they rolled up to a Linden Avenue home last night in a reinforced RCMP combat-style vehicle.
RCMP Cpl. Cheryl Bush says police had a warrant to recover a firearm when they rolled up around 8:30 p.m. and detained six people, including the homeowner. She said Kamloops RCMP got 360 calls from neighbours about drug activity, violence and suspicious activity since 2011 from residents at 417 Linden Ave. When police finally made their move—closing down the neighbourhood and moving in with the Emergency Response Team—they found little more than drug paraphernalia—no weapons and so far, no charges.
“Due to the extensive history of police calls to this address and the known criminals who frequent this address the level of response was initiated in the interest of police and public safety,” Bush said at a press conference today. She said none of the occupants are linked to known gangs.
For neighbours, that high level of response meant their section of Linden Avenue was blocked off for about three hours as police first directed the occupants out of the home using a large microphone or megaphone. Residents in the area were hesitant to speak about the situation, fearing reprisals. Some spoke on condition of anonymity.
“It was really loud,” one neighbour told Infotel News. “At one point it sounded like they were arguing.... They were forced on the ground and were handcuffed before being taken away in a large van.”
The neighbour believes the owner was one of the people taken away, and they hope they won't be allowed back.
“It's scary, they should put barbed wire or something around that house to keep them out,” the neighbour said.
Another neighbour says they got home late last night and were unable to park on the street. They weren't surprised by the police presence—police are often at the house or watching the house, but admit to being shocked at the level of police response last night.
“It makes you think twice,” the neighbour says. “I've never had any problems with them... though there was suspicious activity. I just assumed the police had it under control since they were always there.”
The house itself is currently in foreclosure and is listed for sale. Realtor R.J. Toor says the property is currently occupied by the previous owner but confirms the bank now owns the property and is trying to sell it.
“Foreclosures can definitely be challenges,” he says. “They're sold as is where is and I can't really comment on the condition.”
Bush says disturbances like this aren't rare. What is rare is how long it's gone on. In the meantime, she says police continue to listen to neighbours and will focus on curbing the criminal activity at the residence, and were already back out Wednesday, parked in front of the home for part of the afternoon.
At around 8:30 p.m. February 25, Kamloops RCMP Targeted Enforcement Unit and the Southeast District Emergency Response team executed the warrant. Six people including the homeowner were removed from the house and detained during the search. Though the firearm wasn't found, investigators did happen upon some drug paraphernalia. While no one has been charged at this point Bush says the investigation is ongoing.
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— Story updated at 3:47 p.m. to include neighbourhood and RCMP responses.