A 21-year-old Red Deer man is accused of shooting up the downtown RCMP detachment with a replica firearm and allegedly threatening to torch the building.
Shots were fired from a passing vehicle at the RCMP station at 4602 51st Avenue shortly before 4 p.m. on Monday.
Two second-storey windows at the detachment were pebbled by the rounds’ impacts but did not shatter due to a protective coating.
RCMP said the trouble began with a 3:15 p.m. report that the occupants of a maroon truck were taking potshots at street signs in the Normandeau area. A second call around 3:30 p.m. pegged the location of the truck near the downtown detachment when the two windows were hit.
When the damage was discovered, police evacuated the public from the building, and the large windows were checked to make sure they wouldn’t shatter.
The truck’s driver was soon identified and with help from the public police tracked the vehicle to the Bower subdivision. Two men and two women were taken into custody after a “high-risk arrest” near Boyce Street and Beatty Crescent about 4 p.m.
Police took all four into custody and recovered a BB pistol believed to have been used to fire the shots.
Cory Daniel Picard has been charged with using an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, mischief damage to property over $5,000, and uttering threats.
RCMP said he was alone in the back seat of the truck. The driver and two other passengers were released without charges but the investigation continues.
Picard made his first appearance in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday morning. Dressed in blue prison coveralls, the messy-haired man listened attentively as the charges were read.
After the court clerk read the last charge, for uttering threats in connection with an accusation that he told a police officer he wanted to burn down the detachment, Picard was asked if he understood.
“Yes, can I say something about it?” he started before Judge Gordon Yake cut him off and told him to listen to the proceedings.
Duty counsel Amna Qureshi told the judge that Picard is under the legal adult guardianship of his mother. Guardians are given legal authority to make decisions on behalf of someone who may not be capable themselves.
While Picard’s mother was not present on Tuesday, she will be involved in all future legal decisions involving her son.
The case was adjourned until March 22 when a hearing may be held to determine if Picard will be released on conditions.
Red Deer RCMP Supt. Scott Tod called the shooting a dangerous and serious event even though it turned out that the weapon was allegedly a BB pistol.
“We’re seeing a lot of these replica weapons used in offences. The disturbing thing is that they resemble a real firearm and it’s very hard for officers to make that call whether it’s a replica or not. We don’t have the luxury to make that analysis when faced with it,” Tod said.
He said the shooting was still a threat to the community.
“It’s a threat to the police office and the public that’s in the police office. Thankfully the glass didn’t shatter and didn’t drop on anybody. I’m just very proud of my members, how quickly we apprehended them,” Tod said.
As an isolated incident, residents shouldn’t be too concerned, he said.