Shooting investigation ongoing

A large cache of weapons was discovered and seized at the house of Gregory Warren McNeil, the 43-year-old who was shot by Kamloops Mounties last week in Sun Peaks.

The Kamloops RCMP found the weapons in a concealed room while executing a search warrant in McNeil’s home on Nov. 27.
On Nov. 25, police officers came to Sun Peaks to investigate a complaint of McNeil allegedly uttering threats against a financial institution. Police located McNeil in Burfield Heights. While being arrested, McNeil pointed a loaded handgun at the police officers who then shot the suspect in the arm and leg. He was transported to the hospital and is in stable condition.

Several weapons related charges and a charge of uttering threats were filed against McNeil. His next court appearance is schedule for Dec. 6.

Members of the Lethbridge Regional Police Service were in Kamloops and Sun Peaks on Nov. 26 to investigate the shooting, but there wasn’t much else to reveal for the time being.

“(Our investigators have) interviewed some 20 people and probably invested around 150 hours of investigative time so far,” said Inspector Colin Catonio of the Lethbridge Regional Police Services. “But in terms of the evidence that was disclosed, ultimately that would be premature for me to comment on.”

Mayor Al Raine said the suspect isn’t a resident of Sun Peaks and was doing construction work at a resident’s unit. He also said the incident is out of the ordinary for the otherwise quiet resort community.

While talk about the shooting has already died down, people expressed concern at the amount of time that lapsed before residents were informed about what was happening.

As the events unfolded at 5 p.m. on Nov. 25, rumours quickly spread in the resort community by word of mouth, on Facebook and other social networking sites. Some people mentioned a shooting while others a stabbing with no idea who was involved. An official statement from the RCMP was sent out shortly after 11 p.m. that evening.

TSP president Christopher Nicolson reiterated in an e-mail sent out the following morning that the shooting was an “unusual and isolated incident”.

“Tourism Sun Peaks worked with Mayor Al Raine last night and this morning to respond to media calls. Several hours were spent correcting facts as there were multiple incorrect media reports circulating last night,” wrote Nicolson. Even the mayor admitted to being a bit frustrated after being inundated with at least 40 calls, and having no information to relay at first. The RCMP eventually gave him a call to provide information.

Kamloops RCMP was unavailable for comment. Catonio commented on the factors that may affect the timing of release of information to the public.

“We’re sensitive to the fact that the community would like to hear sooner rather than later about what happened, but the timing of that depends on a couple of things—having enough of the facts to release and knowing what facts you can release,” said Catonio. “Sometimes you need a short holding statement followed by additional detail later. It’s difficult for us to provide all the details of what we’ve known so far because the investigation isn’t complete.” Lethbridge police will issue a press release once their investigation is complete.

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