Roger Evans (left) and Lester Patrick stand within the kitchen area at the Compass House. An individual deployed bear spray in the residence on May 22, prompting an evacuation and emergency crews response. Jordyn Thomson/Western News.

Bear spray culprit released from Penticton RCMP custody

The individual who sprayed the bear spray at Compass House on May 22 has been released

The person who discharged a can of bear spray inside Penticton’s Compass House today has been released by RCMP.

At approximately 10:50 a.m. on May 23, emergency crews responded to a call at 123 Nanaimo Ave. E due to complaints that bear spray had been discharged inside the residence. Operated by the Penticton Salvation Army, Compass House is an emergency shelter for men and women facing homelessness.

“We’re not sure who did it. (At the time it happened) the police were looking for them, but we’re not sure who set it off,” said Roger Evans, supervisor of Compass House. “We’re not sure if the spray was set off upstairs or downstairs or both. I was in my office and the other guys were in the other office. Then we all started to choke and cough and stuff like that, so we knew something was wrong.”

Six people in total were affected by the bear spray, but none required medical treatment from the attending ambulance. No one was sprayed directly with the bear spray.

READ MORE: Penticton’s temporary shelters are ready for cold nights ahead

Evans said he is thankful emergency crews responded quickly to assess everyone and air out the house. He said he is not sure how someone was able to enter the house with bear spray, as staff would have confiscated it had they found it in someone’s possesion.

“We search bags, but not everyone 100 per cent of the time. Somehow this got smuggled in,” said Evans. “I don’t think we’ll change anything, we’ll keep doing our checks. We check all the bags of the new residents. It’s tough because you get to know people, and you know they don’t bring stuff in so you might let them slip by one time.”

According to Captain Rob Trupp with the Penticton Fire Department, the use of the bear spray was “malicious” as whoever activated it “ran out of the house.” He said it took approximately 20 minutes to air out the residence using a positive pressure fan.

According to a release, Penticton RCMP later received a call from the individual who set off the bear spray, turning himself in. He was located and arrested and explained to the officers “he was trying to defend himself from unknown individuals.”

Evans said he does not believe this was an act of self-defense as there were few people in the house at the time. The release states that because “no direct victim was identifed, the man was released from police custody.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Children’s discovery centre, new restaurant planned for RJ Haney Heritage Villlage

Board asks Salmon Arm council for a $25,000 contribution, will be decided at budget time

Seven Shuswap residents receive bravery medals for their actions during church shooting

Four silver medals, three bronze medals awarded locally among 35 throughout B.C.

Music in the air soon with treble clef unveiling in downtown Salmon Arm

Plans include closing Alexander Street on Nov. 2 for celebrations with entertainers, food

IN PHOTOS: RJ Haney’s “Spooktacular” Heritage Village

This year marks the event’s 25th installment

Rain in forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap region

Mixed bag of clouds, sun and showers forecast for the week ahead

Halloween musical creeps onto the Summerland Community Arts Centre stage

Tracy Fehr and the Voice Studio Singers perform on Oct. 25.

Vernon player wins ATP tour event, named to Davis Cup squad

Vasek Pospisil joins Raonic, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime in representing Canada

Sicamous Eagles upset Princeton Posse with 5-0 shutout

A one-game weekend yielded satisfying results for the Sicamous Eagles. The Junior… Continue reading

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

LETTER: Middle class better off with Trudeau’s child benefit boost

It’s a transfer, not a tax cut, but it helps families get ahead

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. scouting group’s tent destroyed by black bear on Thanksgiving

The Richmond-based Sea Dragon Sea Scouts were camping at Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Morning Start: Today is the last day to cast a vote in the federal election

Your morning start for Monday, October 21st, 2019

Most Read