Man charged with attempted murder after shootout with Merritt Mounties

Gerald Cooper, 46, of Fort St. John, has been charged with five counts of attempted murder with a firearm and one count of flight from police. A man and a child were taken to hospital after the June 6 police chase and shootout ended.

A Fort St. John man has been charged with attempted murder in connection with a shootout with Mounties in Merritt on June 6.

At the end of the police chase, the suspect and a child under the age of 12 were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

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Gerald Cooper, 46, of Fort St. John, has been charged with five counts of attempted murder with a firearm and one count of flight from police. He is expected to appear next in Kamloops provincial court on Wednesday, June 9.

It was first around 3:50 p.m. on the afternoon of June 6 that Merritt RCMP officers attempted to stop a white Ford F350 truck with a flatbed trailer, which had been involved in a theft in Lytton the previous day.

Upon the attempt at a traffic stop, the driver of the vehicle immediately fled the scene, prompting the responding officer to notify dispatch.

Just under two hours later, the vehicle was once again spotted about five kilometres from Merritt on Highway 5A without the trailer. A spike belt was deployed to stop the vehicle, which was initially successful, though the vehicle once again began moving down the highway before coming to a stop on Highway 8 near Snake Road and Highway 97C.

Throughout the chase and the stop, gunfire was exchanged between police and the suspect vehicle.

Anyone who may have been a witness to this incident, or has dash-cam or other video and has not already spoken with police, is asked to call Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262 and cite file 2021-2399.

The Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia is now investigating to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the two injuries.

© Kamloops This Week



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