The man facing several attempted murder charges after a dynamic police incident Dec. 3 west of Falkland has a lengthy criminal record that dates back more than a decade.
Williams Lake RCMP issued a warrant for his arrest on Nov. 4 for firearms-related charges, resisting a peace officer and failing to comply with his release conditions.
Now, 31-year-old Darwyn Sellars is facing new charges including possession of a firearm, two counts of flight from police and six counts of attempted murder with a firearm after an alleged shootout with police took place Tuesday near Westwold, which shut down Highway 97 for several hours.
And in 2015, he was sentenced to 321 days in jail for similar charges.
On June 13, 2014, Sellars along with two other men, Chris Higgins and Derick Brown, led the 100 Mile House RCMP, a tracking dog and helicopter pilot on a chase through the bush. The three hid overnight and avoided capture until late in the morning the next day.
At 11:11 a.m. on June 13, 100 Mile House RCMP received information from Kamloops RCMP about a stolen 1999 Mercury Sable heading north. The vehicle was linked to a liquor store theft.
Police spotted the suspect vehicle drive by at a high rate of speed near the intersection of Highway 24 and Highway 97 before finding the car parked in a driveway. Police dogs were brought in from Williams Lake, but the suspects’ tracks were lost after they led back to Hwy. 97. A police helicopter was also dispatched to aid in the search, but the suspects weren’t spotted.
The next morning, the three were recognized from a description of their clothing caught on camera from the liquor store and Sellars and Higgins fled into the bush. One man was arrested behind the 100 Mile House Greyhound bus depot and was allegedly found carrying two sawed-off weapons and ammunition.
Sellars and Higgins were taken into custody without incident shortly after at a 100 Mile House ball diamond during a slo-pitch tournament.
Sellars entered guilty pleas and was sentenced to 321 days in jail on Dec. 11, 2015. Upon his release, he faced a year of probation, a two-year licence suspension and a 10-year firearms prohibition.
On Tuesday, North Okanagan RCMP were alerted to a suspicious car and upon locating the suspect vehicle, a spike belt was deployed after the motorist failed to stop.
“RCMP officers controlled access to the highway and strategically set up roadblocks in an attempt to safely stop the vehicle,” Vernon North Okanagan RCMP media relations officer Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy said. “The driver failed to stop for police and allegedly fired shots from the vehicle as it fled from our officers, posing a serious risk to public safety.”
The suspects’ vehicle stopped behind Westwold Community Church and Highway 97 was closed for approximately six hours while RCMP were on scene. One witnesses said around 19 shots were fired during the incident.
Sellars and Jennifer Patricia Singleton, 38, are facing multiple charges following Tuesday’s incident.
A Facebook profile matching Sellars, who is described by CrimeStoppers as an Indigenous male with short black hair and a scar on his lip, features selfies with photoshopped guns and others with handfuls of cash. On Aug. 5, a post reads “Im coming home boiz…(sic)” above a meme that reads, “If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.”
— with Black Press files