Mother pleads for help as Kamloops RCMP continue standoff | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Mother pleads for help as Kamloops RCMP continue standoff

An unmarked police vehicle is blocking Sequoia Place, June 10, 2022.
Image Credit: Levi Landry

Kamloops RCMP have barricaded the public from a residential street as they negotiate with a man a mental health crisis wielding a crossbow.

Even his own mother can't get close as she pleads desperately, again, for a medical response instead of police.

"I think this is the fifth time the police have been here within the last seven days," Colleen Bell said. She asked them to take him to hospital because he's in psychosis, a break from reality. But each time, they refused for various reasons.

Then on Friday afternoon, officers showed up with guns drawn because he had a crossbow.

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Police cordoned off Sequoia Court, warning the public to stay away from the area around 1 p.m., June 10. A police press release offered no more information than residents should stay inside until police have left.

Several police vehicles parked in front of the house with guns drawn and a negotiator speaking to Bell's son through a loudspeaker.

Bell said her son is well-educated, but he often fails to take his medication and his episodes can lead to psychosis.

Earlier this week, she needed police help to deal with her son, but when he wouldn't open the door, officers simply walked away, she said, because "they can't do anything if you won't open the door."

"So I came over and, as his mother, I smashed the long skinny window beside his door and unlocked the door," Bell said.

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He ran from the house, didn't recognize Bell, and someone called 9-1-1 as he ran through the neighbourhood.

That night, police put her in a police car as she pleaded with RCMP to take her son to the hospital while he was in a psychotic episode.

"(The officer's) conclusion was, and I quote, 'It's not against the law to be crazy. It is against the law to break into a house," Bell said.

That was the first of a few police responses this week to the West End home, according to the neighbours Bell spoke with.

"He's been watching the Ukraine invasion and it started feeding into his psychosis, and he started buying supplies, you know, for Armageddon," Bell said, explaining how he picked up the crossbow. She isn't sure he even knows how to use it.

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While her son keeps falling off his medication, she said the whole situation should warrant a more healthcare-focused response than a law enforcement one.

"Because of mental health laws, we are now having to waste all of this taxpayer's money on all these police cars and frighten all the neighbours. All of this because our mental health laws need changing," Bell said.

She said Car40, a unit that integrates an RCMP officer with a healthcare worker together, was at the scene briefly, but later left when it was clear her son was carrying a crossbow.

It's not clear how long the standoff could continue. Bell was told by police they can last up to 12 hours sometimes, but she urged them to apprehend him quickly to get him to the hospital.

"This is not a police matter, this is a medical matter," Bell said. "I said to them, 'If you have to shoot him, make it the legs, please.'"

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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