The RCMP is backpedalling after rumours surfaced earlier today that the force was investigating a specific group in the Dawson Creek area in connections with two bombings of an EnCana pipeline several kilometres outside the city.
At a press conference in Dawson Creek Thursday night, Sgt. Tim Shields of the RCMP’s Strategic Communications Unit refused to answer a range of questions on the bombing, including what evidence has been recovered and how close they are to apprehending a suspect, saying police"don’t want the suspects to know what we know."
Shields reiterated that assistance from the public is crucial at this time, saying that "one tip could break this case wide open." He also warned that those who knowingly withhold information are considered a party in the offense perpetrated.
Sgt. Shields also refuted the suggestion of some media outlets that a large amount of dynamite stolen from Chetwynd earlier this summer may have been used in the explosion, saying that at this time, the dynamite didn’t appear to be linked to the first blast, and that a link to the second blast had not been determined at this time. He acknowledged that police had recovered samples from both scenes but said that the force was as yet unwilling to say what they think was used in the blast.
Shields says the RCMP’s top priority right now is the safety of the public, adding that the sheer number of kilometers of pipeline crisscrossing northeastern BC makes it "virtually impossible" to provide comprehensive security along all the pipeline. A community meeting is planned for tomorrow to address the issue of safety.
Police say they’re still unsure as to a motive for the incidents, but Shields acknowledged "there have been issues in the area regarding accusations of expansionism by the oil and gas industry and we’re very well aware of what those complaints are." Police are also still unsure whether the bombings are the act of one or more people.
A number of RCMP sections and units are now in the area of Dawson Creek, including the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team. Shields says the RCMP also have a range of investigative resources available to them, including a behavioural science group.
Below is the unedited recording from Thursday’s Press Conference with Tim Shields.
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