LILLOOET, B.C. — A man suspected in a violent assault at a First Nation band office in the British Columbia Interior is dead and 10 others are hurt after an attack that reportedly involved a hammer.
RCMP said they were called just before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to a report of a man with a weapon at the Bridge River Band Office near Lillooet.
When police arrived they found the suspect already restrained.
“RCMP members arrested the male but were unable to transport him as he became unconscious and unresponsive,” police said in a news release.
The officers started CPR, but resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful and the man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Michaela Swan with the Interior Health Authority said that it is caring for two patients in critical condition, another two in serious condition and six others with non-life threatening injuries.
The injured people have been taken to hospitals around the region.
Coroner Barb McLintock confirmed one man died in the incident but couldn’t provide further details. The B.C. Coroners Service was sending a team to investigate, she added.
An emergency worker who didn’t want to be named said the man apparently attacked one person with the hammer, and when others in the office went to help they were also beaten.
Because the man died while in police custody, the Independent Investigations Office is now involved with the case.
The office said it was notified of the incident about 11:30 a.m. and its investigators were slated to arrive later Wednesday, when they would examine the actions of officers related to the man’s death.
“Standard investigative activities include locating and interviewing any witnesses and collecting evidence from the scene,” said a news release.
The office said it would not provide any details about the man who died while in custody, nor release further updates.
It said the RCMP will maintain jurisdiction over the investigation into the initial attack by the man.
Bridge River Indian Band Chief Susan James issued a statement, saying her immediate concern was to ensure that the families involved in the tragedy were being helped.
“Our attention now will be on the healing work we need to do. This tragedy has put our community in shock.”
Bridge River is a tiny aboriginal town located about nine kilometres northwest of Lillooet, in B.C.’s Interior.
The Canadian Press