Man who attacked Keremeos staff with sledgehammer not criminally responsible | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Man who attacked Keremeos staff with sledgehammer not criminally responsible

A photo shared to the Facebook profile of Cameron Edward Jake Urquhart.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

The man who brought a sledgehammer and threatened staff at Keremeos's municipal building has been found not criminally responsible due to mental disorder.

Cameron Urquhart was facing 14 criminal charges in relation to an incident on Jan. 24, when he entered the municipal building with a sledgehammer. 

The court heard that Urquhart declared the Mayor of Keremeos had been fired, as well as the municipal employees and ordered them out. 

“Get out this is no longer your building,” he said.

The mayor was not present during the attack.

Urquhart believed he had been appointed by NATO and the United Nations to take over the Keremeos Village Office.

One woman who ran into her office was followed by Urquhart, who used his sledgehammer to smash stuff along the way. When he got into the office he smashed her phone.

He chased people out of the building “...or I’ll kill you all.”

But people who exited the building were not safe from Urquhart – he chased them to their cars then banged on the windows while screaming at those locked inside.

Urquhart also let the air out of some tires in the parked cars. One woman was retreating when he pushed her on ice causing her to fall and then kicked her while she was down.

Another woman ran to her car but had forgotten her keys. Urquhart struck her in the face and said: “You did not follow instructions.”

He became distracted by others shouting at him, allowing the woman to get away.

One of the few times Urquhart seemed to relent during the rampage was when one victim, in defence of another victim, told him: “This is an 85-year-old man, leave him alone.”

The sledgehammer, which was used to smash numerous office supplies, broke during the incident, but the wooden handle was left with a sharp end and Urquhart continued using it to threaten people.

“That guy was nuts there was no doubt about it,” one witness told police.

“I’ve never seen such a scary set of eyes,” another witness said, “like he wanted to hurt me and then he did.”

It was a challenge for officers to arrest Urquhart. The first cop on scene was prevented from opening the door to his vehicle by Urquhart, who then struck the officer in the face, and said he would be the one making the arrests.

Officers were told Urquhart’s “immune” after they pepper sprayed him.

Eventually three cops eventually managed to cuff.

Urquhart was found to be wearing steel cleats and armour, which was mostly hockey equipment.

The municipal building was closed for days following the attack as significant damage had been caused. 

READ MORE: Armed man threatens and assaults employees Keremeos village office

During the sentencing, Judge Greg Koturbash heard a few words exchanged between the accused and his lawyer, and commented that Urquhart sounds like he is getting well. 

Urquhart appeared by video wearing a green t-shirt and looking well-groomed.

There was no deliberation after the statement of facts were read out. A report submitted to Judge Koturbash convinced him that Urquhart is not criminally responsible for the charges on account of a mental disorder.

The content of the report is subject to a publication ban, however the defence agreed to one concession with the press – which is to report that Urquhart has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is doing well with treatment.

The matter will be turned over to the B.C. Review Board for a disposition hearing. The Crown requested Urquhart be kept in a hospital until then.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 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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