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'Victim' viciously assaults Nanaimo Mountie

Nanaimo RCMP are crediting a Great Canadian Casino employee with possibly saving the life of an officer.

The officer was punched in the stomach and face multiple times when she was attacked by a person she was sent to help Thursday.

The incident happened at about 7 p.m. when the female officer responded to a complaint about an assault at 620 Terminal Ave., near the casino in downtown Nanaimo. She was attacked by the alleged victim, who turned on the officer, punched her several times and tried to get her firearm out of its holster.

Sgt. Sheryl Armstrong, Nanaimo RCMP spokeswoman, said it was fortunate a casino security employee stepped in to help.

“If it wasn’t for him, she thinks she could have lost her life,” Armstrong said. “Without his intervention, we don’t know what the result would have been because he was really attached to her gun.”

Bystanders called 911 and more police swept in to take the suspect, Jason Joseph Speare, 39, into custody.

The officer, who has served with the RCMP for 13 years, was later released from Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for what police described as minor injuries to her hand and face.

Police have not yet released the casino employee's identity.

Speare was charged Friday with assaulting a police officer and attempting to disarm a police officer.

Armstrong said the suspect is new to Nanaimo, but is known to police in other jurisdictions.

Armstrong said police are reviewing casino security video of the assault on the officer. She added it appears the initial complaint of assault to which the officer responded was false.

Nanaimo RCMP want to thank the man who called 911 and other witnesses who stayed to give statements to police.

“We’re thankful for the citizens who called 911 immediately and the support given to the officer by witnesses at the scene,” Armstrong said.

The casino employee is expected to speak to the media at a press conference at 3:30 p.m. today (May 13).

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