Calgary, AB,

Man charged following blowgun incident

The Calgary Police Service has charged a man following an incident that caused serious concern to the public and police.

Just after 1 p.m., on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, a member of the public observed a man under the 34 Avenue S.E. overpass over Deerfoot Trail, pointing what was believed to be a rifle in different directions. The member of public was deeply concerned for the safety of others in the area.

Police arrived with caution and observed the man from a distance to gather more information. It appeared to officers that the man had a long gun and was actively aiming at something in the area. There did not appear to be any members of the public in the immediate vicinity.

There was no safe approach for patrol members that would not have led to a direct confrontation with the suspect, so the decision was made to call in HAWCS for assistance. Officer ensured their presence went unnoticed by the suspect to keep him as calm as possible, while monitoring for any risk or danger to the public.

A short time later, the man loaded the weapon into a rifle case and began walking up a path on a hill on the east side of Deerfoot. Officers set up a short distance down the path he was travelling to intercept him. He was taken into custody without further incident.

The weapon was determined to be a blowgun, approximately three-feet long, with a copper barrel, a wooden handle and plastic stalk, all of which was covered with black tape. Wooden darts were also located within the rifle case. Officers also located cans under the overpass which had two centimeter holes in them, believed to match the diameter of the darts.

It is believed the man was doing target practice in a public place with the blowgun, which is a prohibited weapon.

Ryan Herman THIEL, 26, of Calgary, has been charged with one count of possession of a weapon or imitation for a dangerous purpose.

The Calgary Police Service would like to thank the member of the public who alerted police to this incident. This was a high-risk call that had a peaceful resolution due to a well-coordinated approach by members.