A pair of men were arrested Tuesday afternoon in Duncan, following a wild police chase in the aftermath of a drive-by shooting in Nanaimo.
The men have been identified by Nanaimo RCMP as 18-year-old Armaan Singh Chandi of Surrey and 19-year-old Inderpal Singh Aujla of Mission.
After a bail hearing Wednesday, the RCMP confirmed the two have been charged with multiple offences, including attempted murder, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and failing to stop for police. Both men were remanded into custody with their next court appearance set for today (Friday) in Nanaimo provincial court.
The incident began when two men drove south from Nanaimo in a blue Mazda after a reported drive-by shooting near a children’s daycare, just before 4 p.m.
Police responded to calls about shots fired on Wakesiah Avenue near Second Street in the Harewood neighbourhood of Nanaimo to find that multiple shots had been fired into a vehicle occupied by one man, who was not injured.
“They fired multiple rounds into the vehicle, struck another vehicle and also struck a house,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.
The suspect vehicle was subsequently located south of Nanaimo and pursued by police.
“It failed to stop for police. It carried on into Ladysmith and into Duncan where Duncan [RCMP] picked up the pursuit,” O’Brien said.
Two Nanaimo RCMP members were injured during the pursuit and four police cars were damaged.
One officer was airlifted to Vancouver and the other was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, O’Brien said.
“While Nanaimo and Ladysmith were pursuing the vehicle towards Duncan, North Cowichan/Duncan officers were mobilizing and getting ready to deploy a spike belt at Drinkwater Road and Trans Canada Highway in an effort to stop the fleeing vehicle. Unfortunately, due to heavy traffic they were not able to deploy the spike belt and were required to assist in the pursuit,” said Cpl. Krista Hobday of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP.
O’Brien said police were ultimately able to box in the vehicle and arrest the men near Coronation Avenue and the Trans Canada Highway.
“They [the suspects] got basically caught in traffic and then the police cars with Duncan, and South Island Traffic and Ladysmith, they boxed them in. Then the suspect vehicle tried to get out and backed into a couple vehicles and damaged them. Then police arrested the two people in the car.”
A cursory search of the vehicle turned up no firearms.
“Now its our job to determine why they’re in Nanaimo and the motive behind the shooting,” said O’Brien.
For its part North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP is proud of how it’s members rose to the occasion on what was a very busy afternoon for the detachment.
“The officer in charge of North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, Insp. Ray Carfantan, has nothing but praise for the professional way his officers conducted themselves and were able to maintain public safety, clear from one call to head over to the next, assess and resolve that call, then back to the last one before off to the next one, and then the one after that, all the while assisting Nanaimo RCMP and apprehending two individuals in a very volatile environment,” Hobday said.
Within the 45 minute period during which the arrest took place North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP responded to numerous serious calls. At 4:44 p.m. police responded to a hold-up alarm on Drinkwater Road; at 5:02 p.m. they responded to a man with a knife threatening another man on Cowichan Lake Road; at 5:03 p.m. they responded to a man assaulting a woman in the Superstore parking lot; and, at 5:27 p.m. police responded to a man in the middle of the street yelling at traffic near Dobson Road.
—With a file from the Nanaimo News Bulletin