File photo

Man who was carrying knife tackled at Nanaimo’s night market

RCMP make arrest after market-goer chases suspect downtown

A man wielding a knife at the Thursday night street market was arrested by Nanaimo RCMP after he was tackled by a market-goer.

Gregory Long and his wife had just arrived at the downtown night market Thursday when they came upon a man holding a knife to his chin and uttering obscenities.

“We were just walking in … and there was this real [messed] up guy and he had a knife to his throat and he’s freaking out these guys at a booth that are trying to sell [stuff],” Long said.

Long called 911 and stayed on the phone with the operator while he and his wife followed the man who was moving off through the crowd. Long, knowing the man was armed, was trying to keep him in sight. The man had put the knife in his pocket, but then started to approach Long.

“He did a roundhouse kick and knocked a planter – they have those four-foot planters on the sidewalks – and he knocked that out,” Long said.

When the man headed toward another vendor booth Long positioned himself in front of the man and told him the police were on their way.

“I said, ‘Just stand there. You’re not going anywhere…’” said Long, who used to be a boxer. “I said, ‘if you put your hands in your pockets I’m going to knock you out’ … I was just waiting for the cops. I wasn’t doing anything stupid. If he went for his pocket I was going to smoke him.”

Once a security guard intervened, the suspect threw his knife in a vendor’s basket and started running down the street. Long gave chase and eventually tackled the suspect. Police arrived and put both men in handcuffs until witnesses explained what had happened and Long was released. He was treated by paramedics at the scene for a broken thumb sustained when he fell during the chase.

Nanaimo RCMP Staff Sgt. John Blaase confirmed that one man was arrested, held in custody overnight and was expected to make a court appearance today, June 28.

“I think there was a little bit of self-medication involved…” Blaase said. “I guess it got a little bit of excitement down there, but the arrest itself was a non-event … When there’s the possibility of mental health issues and self-medication concerns, we have to take those into consideration, obviously, for public safety.”

Kim Smythe, CEO of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce CEO, which organizes the event, said the night market is safe, with many security measures both visible and “behind the scenes.”

“Thousands of people come down, unfortunately last night a few people witnessed something that went wrong,” he said.

Smythe said the police response was “fabulous,” with numerous officers immediately on scene. He said the chamber will meet with RCMP and city staff on Tuesday “to go over the incident and to talk about how we can further improve the situation.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo RCMP arrest knife-wielding man near Beban Park

READ ALSO: Nanaimo RCMP investigate report of man in Santa hat wielding sword



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

New Victoria Conservatory music scholarship recognizes long-time Sidney resident

O. Thomas Webb died in Sidney last year after retiring to the community in 1975

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Most Read