A man caught up in a police incident just south of Red Deer on Monday afternoon said it began for him when he was told to stay indoors.
“I says, ‘What’s going on?’ and I looked out in the front lot there was a half dozen RCMP vehicles, the officers were vesting up, they were getting out their high-powered rifles.”
The incident occurred outside at Schlumberger Ltd.’s pressure pumping base in McKenzie Industrial Park, located on McKenzie Road between 30th and 40th Avenues. Blackfalds RCMP responded to a call of an attempted truck theft and firearm complaint.
It ultimately ended peacefully with the arrest of one 17-year-old male suspect. Blackfalds and Innisfail RCMP, ALERT, Police Dog Services and the RCMP helicopter were involved. RCMP said the firearm turned out to be a replica pistol.
The man who was there when it happened, and whom the Advocate is not identifying, said a lockdown for safety purposes quickly began at about 2 p.m., when about 75 people who were working outside in the yard were told through company loudspeaker to come inside.
A suspect was sitting in a large black crewcab truck in the parking lot on the east side of the Schlumberger facility.
The man who spoke to the Advocate said that the whole time police officers were putting on their vests and preparing, another police officer was on his knees with a high-powered rifle on the hood of the (police) car, trained on the vehicle and suspect about 75 yards away.
The man said he did not see the suspect because the back windows of the truck were blacked out. He did not know how the suspect got in the parking lot.
It was about an hour and a quarter later that police informed everyone they were being moved further away from the incident, eventually to the very west side of the site. The suspect was on the east side of the site.
Buses were going to be brought in so workers could be removed to safety from the site.
As they were lining for the buses, which hadn’t arrived, “an RCMP officer came in and said the individual surrendered to police and the situation was under control.”
“There was no shots fired. From where I was I could hear them, they were hailing him over loudspeakers so if there was any shots fired I would have definitely heard them.”
The man said police were speaking over a loudspeaker to the suspect: “‘Come on, you got nowhere to go, surrender,’ words to that effect. It was all very well controlled, I would say done to textbook.”
“I was concerned. When you see guns drawn and that, I was concerned for the welfare of the individuals involved. … not to sound callous but it was a major inconvenience.”
“Everybody was very calm. I would say all in all it was handled very professionally.”
He said he was irked with police when they came and said they didn’t want anyone to contact media or social media.
“I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, I don’t know how people work those things, but at one point they were quite concerned. They said they had the names of individuals who were posting to Facebook … and they didn’t want anybody else posting to Facebook.”
Police shut down McKenzie Road for a short time. The incident was over by about 4 p.m.
RCMP said there would be no further information provided until this afternoon.