A 39-year-old Penticton man has been charged with uttering threats following an allegedly threatening voicemail that locked down City Hall Wednesday.
Police responded to City Hall on Nov. 4 following complaints of a threat received relating to local residents who had their power shut off. RCMP assisted in a brief lockdown of City Hall out of precaution.
RCMP reported that officers attended the residence of the male in question and he answered the door with two hunting knives in his hands.
Police say the man confronted the RCMP officers verbally before retreating inside.
“There was no indication of any heightened threat, other than he had a hunting knife in his hand,” Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth said. “Eventually he did come out, very co-operative, no issues with the arrest.”
RCMP said that the man and his wife were eventually co-operative with police after the initial confrontation with the knives.
“It was a critical incident that was quickly deescalated by the police on scene,” Wrigglesworth said.
“It was kind of surreal for a lot of people. I was in the building at the same time and to have the heightened security, it was the kind of thing you don’t think happens in good ol’ little Penticton,” Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said.
He said a city employee was at the residence of the man in question earlier that day to shut off the power meter to his residence.
“It was a little nerve-wracking for some of the staff and just kind of an eerie feeling,” Jakubeit said. “But it was dealt with right away very professionally by the RCMP and everything is back to normal.”
There was heightened security, but operations continued at City Hall on Wednesday.
“Any measures that we put in place were out of an abundance of caution and making sure our staff and the public were safe. That’s absolutely paramount. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but things are obviously back to normal operations now,” said Simone Blais, communications officer for the City of Penticton.
City staff received two messages that were threatening in nature according to Blais.
“There were no locked doors per se,” Blais said. “We had staff posted at entrances and exits just to monitor customers coming in and out. There was no incident.”
There was a police presence on site Nov. 4 as an investigation was underway, and staff handed all related materials over to the RCMP.
Blais said that it is not the first time the police have been called to City Hall in the last few years, if incidents get serious enough staff have procedures in place for events like this.
Staff and employees at City Hall were advised that the man was released from cells on Nov. 5 and RCMP said he was “very calm and co-operative.”
The man was taken to the Penticton Regional Hospital for a mental health assessment after his arrest. He was then released from the hospital into the custody of the RCMP and lodged in cells before being released with a court date on Dec. 16.
An investigation is currently underway.
A second residence was attended to by RCMP, which also had its power cut off and called City Hall, but did not make any threats police said.