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NWPD investigate RCMP involvement in Okanagan chase
West Kelowna RCMP have called in the New Westminster Police Department to investigate the use of force aspect during an incident last Tuesday.
Two men and a woman were arrested just north of Vernon following a police pursuit and shots being fired.
Two NWPD detectives headed to West Kelowna late that day to begin the investigation and later in the week confirmed the woman had been taken to hospital with gunshot wounds.
The chase began about 1:30 p.m. when West Kelowna RCMP officers tried to stop a suspicious green minivan. While chasing the vehicle the officer reported to dispatch he had been shot at and asked for backup.
Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon told Black Press it appeared the suspects changed vehicles a couple of times with more shots being fired as the chase headed toward Vernon with the suspects reportedly driving a vehicle on two rims after blowing the front tires.
"They were not allowing any traffic onto Westside Road, and as the suspect vehicle was getting closer you could hear all the sirens," a still-trembling witness told the Vernon Morning Star. "Police then stopped traffic and told all of us to get down in our vehicles. The suspect vehicle raced through there and I know I heard shots fired, or maybe it was tires being blown out, but then they were racing toward Vernon."
The chase ended about an hour after it began. The two men were held in custody on previous warrants. Shawn Adam Wysinski, 32, had a February warrant for failing to comply with a probation order, while Michael Edward Ellis, 39, was wanted for possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking stemming from a Columbia Valley area investigation.
On Thursday, attempted murder charges and committing an offence with a firearm were laid against Wysinski, Ellis, and Ashley Collins, 19.
The men were also charged with operating a vehicle while being pursued by police, failing to stop in order to evade police, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
Collins underwent surgery but her injuries were not considered life threatening. NWPD have yet to disclose if it had been determined which gun fired the bullet that hit her.