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Man walking around Nanaimo marsh with airsoft rifle concerning to police and nearby schools

Two schools went into hold-and-secure procedures Thursday morning, May 13

UPDATE: Hold-and-secure procedures at two Nanaimo schools have been lifted as RCMP have located the suspicious person they were looking for and have seized his airsoft rifle.

Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said police received a report at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 13, of a man walking in the area behind the Nanaimo Ice Centre with what appeared to be a rifle.

“The complainant had actually snapped a picture of the individual and that was shared with our members as they arrived on scene,” O’Brien said. “It confirmed that it appeared to be some sort of long-barrelled rifle. We didn’t know if it was a firearm or an airsoft at that point.”

Police set up containment and emergency response team members and a police dog searched the marsh. Police came upon a man at about 10:30 a.m. who said he’d been in the area earlier with an airsoft rifle.

“We went with him to a location where the airsoft rifle was seized,” O’Brien said. “During that time [Nanaimo District Secondary School and Fairview Elementary were] on a hold-and-secure, which has since been lifted.”

The man, of no fixed address, from whom the airsoft rifle was seized, was not arrested.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Two schools in Nanaimo are in a hold-and-secure while Nanaimo RCMP investigate a suspicious person in the area.

Nanaimo District Secondary School, Fairview Elementary School and the Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools district administration centre are in a hold-and-secure, the school district posted on social media.

Under hold-and-secure procedures, school entrances are locked and no one may enter or exit the building, but classes proceed as normal inside.

Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said there was a report of a suspicious person behind the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Third Street.

School district spokesperson Dale Burgos said there were no threats made to schools, students or staff, and that the schools entered the emergency procedure as a precaution while RCMP investigate the report of a suspicious individual.

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RCMP outside the Nanaimo Ice Centre investigating a report of a suspicious person. The incident resulted in hold-and-secures at two nearby schools, but those emergency procedures have now been lifted. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo RCMP confiscated an airsoft rifle from a man, of no fixed address, who was seen with the rifle behind the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Third Street on Thursday, May 13. (Photo submitted)

Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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