Shots were fired as Princeton police saved a kidnap victim Saturday afternoon and arrested the man wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for attempted murder after a shooting in Oliver Wednesday.
A police dog tracked down Afshin Maleki Ighani, 45, in the bush area between Deblyn Motor Home Estates and Coalmont Road. The kidnap victim was taken from the scene to RCMP headquarters. She sat in the back of a police vehicle, tear-stained and in visible distress, as she was driven from the area.
RCMP Sergeant Barry Kennedy said police here were alerted to the kidnapping after a man was thrown from his vehicle in the parking lot of A&W on Highway 3.
“He called and identified him [Ighani] and said: ‘he just kicked me out of the car, stole my car and kidnapped my girlfriend.”
The vehicle headed east on Highway 3, and the man who alerted police then stole a motorcycle from the A&W parking lot and set out in pursuit.
Keremeos RCMP established a roadblock that did not intercept the vehicle being driven by Ighani. The victim’s boyfriend broke through the barricade and road to Okanagan Falls, where the bike was abandoned. He remains at large.
Kennedy said all three people are known to each other.
An RCMP helicopter was dispatched from Kelowna, and by tracing the victim’s cell phone location officers determined Ighani and his victim were headed back towards Princeton, said Kennedy.
The helicopter established visual contact with the car, and communicated to officers on the ground who managed to track the vehicle to the Deblyn mobile home park.
By that time, the woman was driving the car, he said.
“One of the police officers attempted to disable the vehicle by shooting the tire,” said Kennedy.
A neighbour, who did not give her name, told Black Press she saw a police officer trying to break the glass of the car’s passenger window with the butt of his rifle.
The car drove only about 100 metres before the suspect fled on foot and was located by the RCMP canine unit.
Kennedy said the outcome is a credit to local law enforcement.
“It was well put together. It was well organized. Our dispatchers did a great job coordinating all the resources.”
Ighani will be charged later today in Princeton, said Kennedy.
In addition to the charge of attempted murder in Oliver, Ighani faces charges in that city of uttering threats, pointing a firearm, possessing a restricted weapon without a license, breach and other weapons possession charges.