One person is injured in hospital and another person is in police custody following an altercation that involved several people, bear spray, a machete and possibly other weapons.
According to Nanaimo RCMP, the incident happened at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, in the 2100 block of Bowen Road in the vicinity of Beban Plaza.
“[Officers] found an injured female who was receiving first aid from bystanders. She had significant lacerations and was taken to hospital for treatment,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.
Officers also found a male youth who was suffering from exposure to bear spray. Two other male youths were also involved.
“One produce a machete during the altercation,” O’Brien said. “We don’t know exactly why they were fighting, but it was obvious there was a dispute between the two. A third male was not injured and left the scene.”
O’Brien said the youths involved are from the Nanaimo area and are known to police. The woman, in her 30s, who O’Brien said will face a charge of obstruction for providing a false name, has outstanding warrants for her arrest from the Lower Mainland.
“Interestingly, the individual who got involved with the machete was actually wearing goggles as he suspected that bear spray may be involved in the situation,” O’Brien said.
He said the suspects appeared to have no regard for where they carried out the fight and that there may have been a young boy who was also impacted by exposure to the bear spray. Investigators are trying to follow up on that information.
Investigators currently are working under the notion that there were four people involved in the incident, but there could be others who fled prior to police arriving on scene. Police also say weapons may have been stashed in the area.
“We’re certainly looking for witnesses to come forward,” O’Brien said. “It’s in a very public spot in the early part of the evening. We like to know if other people were actively involved in that situation or if other weapons were produced. At this point we know of a machete and bear spray being brought, both considered weapons … in this particular case [the machete] was used in a criminal offence and that’s why the individual’s looking at charges of aggravated assault.”
No charges have been recommended against any of the suspects known to have been involved in the incident.
O’Brien said the woman’s injuries are believed to have been caused by the machete, but she has “been less than forthcoming” with investigators.
“It’s troubling to know that there are individuals walking around our community who have bear spray and are involving themselves in criminal acts,” O’Brien said.
Police are also looking for eyewitnesses and anyone who may have dash cam footage of the area around the time of the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2022-15682.