An armed standoff at a Penticton townhouse complex ended peacefully around 4 p.m. Wednesday when the suspect, believed to have been involved in a shooting hours earlier, surrendered to police.
Heavily armed members of the RCMP Emergency Response Team remained on scene at 298 Maple St. as of press time as they worked to ensure the townhome, which has been an irritant for neighbours, was indeed empty.
The complex is only about half a block from Queen’s Park Elementary, which was locked down as a result of the police incident. The lockdown was noted by an RCMP officer who spent parts of three hours using a loudhailer to plead with the suspect to surrender.
“I know it’s not your intention to scare the kids, so let’s end this,” the officer told the suspect. “Let the kids go home. Let their moms and dads stop worrying.”
Students were eventually allowed to go home, but only in the company of a parent or guardian. Kids from a daycare that’s only about 20 metres from the townhouse complex were evacuated to Queen’s Park and also only released to a parent or guardian.
The suspect, whom the officer on the loudhailer referred to as Jesse, was wanted in connection with a non-fatal shooting around noon at a home on the 400 block of Winnipeg Street about 500 metres away.
He’s believed to have then made his way to the Maple Street townhome, which was surrounded by officers with long guns around 1 p.m. Five other people were removed from the townhome in handcuffs near the start of the standoff.
“This appears to be a targeted incident, and the public is not at risk,” Penticton RCMP spokesman Const. James Grandy said in a press release.
Steven Huxley, who lives next door to the townhome in which the suspect was holed up, said the adjoining unit has been a magnet for criminal activity.
“Usually a lot of drug people in and out. Constant bikes in and out,” said Huxley. “At one point they had like 15 stolen bikes on their balcony.”
Onlookers, some of whom jeered the suspect as he was being led away by police, suggested he’s Jesse Shawcross, the man believed responsible for an armed carjacking in mid-September on Eastside Road. However, court records show Shawcross is still behind bars awaiting a bail hearing Oct. 16.
With files from Melanie Eksal