Saturday, October 1, 2022

Shooting in Williams Lake, BC stampede 2 injured, force evacuation

Two people were injured and a third is in custody after the RCMP described it as a “public shooting” at a rodeo in northern BC on Sunday.

Police say they were called to the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds around 3.30 pm

“Two people with unspecified injuries have been taken to a local area hospital and one suspect is in custody,” Mounties said in a statement. Preliminary information suggests the incident was targeted and that no one else was exposed to the public. There is no risk left.”

“The investigation is in its infancy and no further information is available at this time.”

According to a Facebook update from Stampede president Court Smith, thousands of attendees were told to evacuate by an announcement over loudspeakers during the bull riding event.

“No one else was injured. Our announcer did a fantastic job of getting people out of the facility,” he said in a Facebook video, adding that the investigation is ongoing and thanking the RCMP for its prompt response.

Shooting in Williams Lake, BC stampede 2 injured, force evacuationThis photo submitted by Kevin Lee shows the RCMP at the scene after shooting at Williams Lake Stampede on July 3, 2022.

This weekend marked the event’s return after two years of COVID-19-related cancellations.

Lauren Carruthers was there at the time, enjoying the end of what she described as the “perfect rodeo weekend” when the shooting took place. She was in the ring to pose for the association at that time.

She tells CTV News, “All of a sudden there was some sort of uproar. We really didn’t understand what was going on. I saw the Joker jump over the fence and go into the stands.”

“At the time I thought this Joker was part of the show.”

Shooting in Williams Lake, BC stampede 2 injured, force evacuationThis photo taken by Lauren Carruthers shows rodeo clown Jason Charters from Merritt performing at the 2022 Williams Lake Stampede.

When he heard instructions to evacuate, he realized that nothing was happening. But she said the scene was not chaotic, crediting the announcer for setting the tone by speaking calmly and providing clear instructions.

“There were people helping out, people in wheelchairs being escorted in and out through the actual rodeo area and through the gates where the contestants are,” she recalls.

“Everyone was really trying to help those around them. There was no panic at all. It was handled incredibly well.”

Although she was initially worried for her mother and son who were in the stands, she has since learned that they both got out safely.

She says the mood was gleeful over the weekend, with a sold out crowd enjoying the return of a beloved annual tradition.

“It was one of the best rodeos I’ve ever had,” she said, adding that she has lived in Williams Lake for 53 years and always looks forward to the city coming alive over the weekend of the event.

“It’s a terrible, horrifyingly sad ending to the perfect weekend.”

The RCMP is asking anyone with footage or information to contact investigators by calling 250-392-6211.

Nation World News Desk
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