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Loaded gun report puts Vancouver Island community on lockdown

An incident involving a loaded gun left a small Vancouver Island community on lockdown over the weekend, with locals advised to not leave their homes.

The Village of Zeballos, with a population of just over 100 people, is about a two-and-a-half hour’s drive west of Campbell River.

This past Saturday (Sept. 4th) just after 6:30 pm, village officials sent out an important note to residents, “Please stay inside your home at this time.”

The alert came after the Port McNeill RCMP was called to a home not far from the village in Oclucje.

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A 42-year-old man, described as Indigenous standing at around 6-feet tall with brown hair and facial scarring, allegedly walked into the home and pointed a loaded gun at someone inside.

“The occupant was able to leave the home to a safe place,” police said in a release.

But given the nature of the report, the Port McNeill RCMP called on the Emergency Response Team, Police Dog Services, and a Crisis Negotiator for help. Together the teams tried to find the suspect, the RCMP said, with search efforts eventually leading to Zeballos.

“Despite significant search efforts and road checks being set up out of that community throughout the evening, the suspect has not been located,” police noted.

While the initial search was unsuccessful, a 10:34 pm update on Saturday from the Village of Zeballos stated, “Although the incident has not been resolved, residents may now come out of their homes. RCMP are still asking that you call 911 should you see the person of interest.”

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On Sunday, Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet added that officers are continuing their efforts to find the suspect. “He has not been charged and therefore cannot be identified, however, we want to reassure the community that the incident appears to [be] isolated and targeted,” Shiohet said.

My Campbell River Now has reached out to Port McNeill RCMP for further comment.

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