Huge police presence in Coldstream standoff came after suspect wanted 'suicide by police' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Huge police presence in Coldstream standoff came after suspect wanted 'suicide by police'

Kelly Blake Torvik
Image Credit: Facebook


VERNON - A Vernon man at the centre of a tense police standoff in Coldstream earlier this year says the situation was a harsh wake up call.

Kelly Blake Torvik, 33, said he’s sorry and ready to address his drug addiction during a sentence hearing in Vernon Provincial Court yesterday, July 24.

Torvik faced nine charges including assault with a weapon, uttering threats and using a firearm following a roughly 19-hour standoff with police on Feb. 4 and 5. He ultimately pleaded guilty to five counts and the rest were stayed. 

The high-profile incident prompted the evacuation of nearby homes and the closure of streets in the surrounding area while police negotiators attempted to coax Torvik from a home on Torrent Drive in Coldstream.

Text messages sent by Torvik to his mother — the victim of the assault — show why there was such a huge police presence.

Torvik, who was in a highly distressed and drug-induced state, texted that he had a gun, wished to die, and wanted suicide by police, court heard. 

“Guaranteed I ain’t going out alone and I’ve got a really good shot with this gun,” he wrote. “I could kill two cops before they even get near my house.”

Torvik dropped his head between his knees and sobbed while the text messages were read aloud in court. His parents, who fully support his recovery, were seated in the gallery.

Torvik’s mother initially spoke with police in the hope that her son would be apprehended under the Mental Health Act and given help.

Court heard how the Vernon RCMP was contacted by a crisis line employee on Feb. 4, at roughly 7:30 p.m., who said a woman had been assaulted by her son. The crisis line was concerned because Torvik had made comments about being shot and killed by police, Crown counsel Angela Ross said.

Numerous police officers converged on a Coldstream home yesterday, Feb. 5, 2018 after receiving a report of a distraught man with a firearm.
Numerous police officers converged on a Coldstream home yesterday, Feb. 5, 2018 after receiving a report of a distraught man with a firearm.

Police met with Torvik’s mother at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital, where she was being treated for cuts to her hand and a bump on her head.

Anne Torvik explained to police that her son had struggled with drugs in the past but was doing better in the past few months. However, she said in the 24 to 36 hours before the incident, things deteriorated significantly and her relationship with her son became hostile and confrontational. She believed he was self-medicating with Ritalin bought on the street.

When she came home on Feb. 4, he was sweating, his eyes were dilated, and he was behaving violently, Ross said. His mother couldn’t tell if he was using drugs or suffering withdrawal.

“She described to police that he completely lost it,” Ross said.

Torvik punched the drywall in the house and broke four doors, court heard. He assaulted his mother by pushing her to the ground and pointing a gun at her.

“He told her there were two bullets, one for her and one for him,” Ross said, adding he tried to force her hand onto the trigger.

Police responded in full force with an Emergency Response Team. A negotiator spoke sporadically with Torvik through the evening and into the next day and Torvik eventually surrendered peacefully.

A psychiatric report found no signs of any major illness and no prior suicide attempts, Ross said. What stood out, she said, was that Torvik began using crack cocaine and alcohol at age 17, and became addicted to painkillers in his mid-20s after a bike accident. He went on the methadone program for a few years, but slipped back into crack cocaine and alcohol abuse in the last three years. Court also heard how Torvik was bullied at school and only attended up to Grade 10. In the month prior to the offence, he was using methamphetamine and said he was feeling paranoid that everyone was against him.

Torvik said he had no recollection of the events on Feb. 4 and 5 due to his impaired state. When asked by Judge Jeremy Guild if he had anything to say, Torvik made an emotional apology. 

“I just want to say how sorry I am for everything leading up to this situation and I can’t believe it came to that,” he said, fighting back tears.

Torvik, who has been held in custody since his arrest, locked eyes with his parents from behind the glass of the prisoner’s dock.

“I love you so much and I just want to show you how these next few months and years, it’s going to be a whole new life,” he said.

Crown counsel, along with Torvik’s defence lawyer Bobak Movassaghi, asked Judge Guild to consider an 18-month conditional sentence order instead of jail time. The sentence would involve Torvik residing with his father under constant supervision followed by a 12 month probation.

Guild acknowledged Torvik’s remorse, his early guilty pleas, and his desire to turn his life around.

Guild sentenced Torvik to an 18-month conditional sentence order under strict conditions. He must not contact his mother except by phone, email or text, and can only see her directly in a public place where other adults are present. His mother addressed the court and said she hopes the restrictions on their contact can be relaxed over time so they can return to a more normal relationship again.

Torvik is also prohibited from using drugs and alcohol, must not have contact with people named by his conditional sentence supervisor (such as acquaintances from the drug culture he was involved in) and must not possess firearms or weapons for 10 years. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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