Thursday April 27, 2023 | COLWOOD, BC [Updated 11:10 am April 28, 2023]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Around 2:30 pm today West Shore RCMP received a report of two men in a vehicle and in possession of a long gun, near College Road and Thetis Crescent in Colwood. [RCMP File # 2023-7911]
Given the proximity of Ecole John Stubbs Memorial School (at 301 Zealous Crescent) and Royal Roads University, both educational institutions were asked by West Shore RCMP to place their schools under hold and secure while police worked to locate the suspects, says Cpl Nancy Saggar, Media Relations Officer, West Shore RCMP.
RCMP also notified the nearby Military Police of the ongoing situation for their awareness.
John Stubbs is a Grade K to 8 French Immersion school in the Sooke School District SD62 with a large population of 811 students (498 elementary and 313 middle). School principal is Mellissa Ryan. There are two vice-principals, 19 teachers for Grades 6 to 8, 26 teachers for K to 5, and four teachers for music and band.
The hold and secure was lifted after RCMP safely arrested the two suspects at 3:30 pm. The suspects are now in police custody and the investigation will continue, says Cpl Saggar.
Released without charges: [Update April 28:]
The two male suspects ages 20 and 21 years old were arrest by police for possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Police confirmed the suspects were in possession of a replica airsoft rifle. Officers noted the replica rifle was incredibly realistic in both its look and weight. The men advised police they had just purchased the replica airsoft rifle and wanted to try it out in the wooded area (as it turns out, where they were arrested).
After speaking with police both men understood the fear and concern they brought about by carrying this rifle in public near a school. They have since relinquished the replica rifle to the RCMP and apologized for their actions. They were released from custody without charges.
SD62 posted on Twitter after the incident had been resolved:
“With the incident being resolved by RCMP, regular dismissal procedures are in place at John Stubbs Memorial School. We will be sending a communication to families tonight by email about the supports we will have in place by tomorrow for any students or staff needing them.”
Parents aren’t necessarily made aware of a hold & secure or a lockdown while it is in progress. “The safety of students and staff is paramount during a Hold & Secure or a Lockdown,” a District spokesperson told Island Social Trends, adding: “The district office will communicate with parents/guardians as appropriate to the situation.”
Airsoft guns in Canada:
Sellers of airsoft guns modelled on real firearms have taken advantage of a loophole in existing firearm laws.
Under Canadian law, it has been illegal to own a replica firearm (other than one that copied an antique) since the mid-1990s. But airsoft guns are not technically replicas because they fire projectiles.
“We would like to remind the public that although replica firearms themselves are not illegal, if they are used in the commission of an offence you can be facing weapons-related charges. Please be mindful of your actions and surroundings when possessing such items,” said Cpl Nancy Saggar, West Shore RCMP Media Relations Officer.
Drugs & weapons seized by West Shore RCMP (July 19, 2022)
Airsoft gun generates public response in Langford retail area (Feb 3, 2022)
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