10 Hurt, Suspect Dead, In Hammer Attack At Aboriginal Government Office In British Columbia

A hammer attack at an aboriginal government office in British Columbia has left 10 people hurt and the suspect dead.

According to a report by the New York Daily News, a man carrying a hammer walked into the office, located an estimated 155 miles northeast of Vancouver, on Wednesday morning, at approximately 8:30 a.m. local time, and started assaulting members of the aboriginal tribe, also known as the Bridge River Indian Band. When the unidentified man entered the office, he struck one member of the group. Other members then attempted to come to his rescue, resulting in more injuries, some critical.

Michaela Swan with the Interior Health Authority said two of the patients are in critical condition. Another two patients were listed as being in in serious condition, and the six others had non-life threatening injuries and were later released from the hospital.

“All the patients will remain in hospital until they’re medically cleared to go home. It’s really hard to speculate at this point in time,” she said. “There certainly are some pretty serious injuries involved and we’re monitoring the situation closely.”

Xwísten Chief Susan James said in a statement that “four of the injured have been hospitalized, and two are in serious condition.”

“A number of our office staff are being stabilized and transferred to other hospitals,” James added, according to the Vancouver Sun. “Our attention now will be on the healing work we need to do. This tragedy has put our community into shock.”

The suspect was eventually subdued and restrained by people in the office. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers arrived at the scene a short time later and placed the man under arrest. However, they were not able to transport him because he became unconscious and unresponsive.

The RCMP tried to revive him by performing CPR, which was eventually taken over by paramedics. Despite their efforts, the attacker was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime. Because the attacker died in custody, the B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office had to be called in to help with the investigation. The B.C. Coroner’s office is also investigating, according to official Barb McLintock. McLintock said the man’s name will likely not be released until sometime on Thursday, October 15.

“The suspect was subdued and restrained before police arrived,” RCMP Cpl. Janelle Shoihet said in a news release. “RCMP members arrested the male but were unable to transport him as he became unconscious and unresponsive. RCMP officers immediately commenced CPR.”

“The focus of the IIO investigation will be on the actions or inactions of the officers,” IIO spokesman Marten Youssef said. “Standard investigative activities include locating and interviewing any witnesses and collecting evidence from the scene.”

James said their office will not be commenting on the hammer attack until the investigation is completed.

“As the police investigate, we will not comment on the details of the situation other than to say our prayers are with the families and the community,” James said.

According to its website, the band has 440 members. Just over a third of those members live in Bridge River, which is approximately nine kilometres (5.5 miles) northwest of Lillooet. The band office, which is described as a large multi-purpose community building, remained blocked off by police tape on Wednesday.

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