A witness to an arrest downtown Chilliwack Tuesday after an alleged vehicle theft is praising the police for showing restraint and professionalism.
Shane Wann was working in an underground gas tank at the Esso station at Young Road and First Avenue around 1 p.m. on July 4 when plainclothes members of the RCMP’s Crime Reduction Unit stopped a vehicle stolen from Coquitlam earlier in the day.
Two men in the car got out to flee officers, according to witnesses. One of the men then got back into the vehicle, reversed it and ran into an officer, pinning him between two cars. The driver then got out and ran off, according to Wann.
Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail confirmed from the police report that one of the members was struck, and the driver fled on foot.
“He is going to be fine,” Rail said adding that a Good Samaritan helped the officer as other officers fled to track down the driver.
Wann said “it was unbelievable” and that he jumped out of the sump and covered it as quickly as he could. But what shocked him most was that police did not fire their weapons despite the aggressive behaviour of the suspects.
“They had every right to open up on those guys,” Wann told The Progress. “I’ve hated cops for a long time but what I saw yesterday turned that around. They showed so much restraint.”
Wann added that the injured officer himself was calm and professional and got back to work.
“The injured officer was by himself and pulled the passenger out at gunpoint,” he said. “He showed total restraint, no name calling, no anger, nothing. I was shocked.”
Charges have not yet been laid so none of what Wann said he witnessed has been proven in court, but Rail confirmed the officer was struck by a vehicle after which he did participate in an arrest.
“We are out there and it can be a dangerous job,” Rail said.
Two men are in custody facing charges, possibly due in court Wednesday afternoon.
Rail asks anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call the RCMP at 604-792-4611 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).