'It was pretty insane': Witness describes sudden violent assault on a woman at Penticton's Okanagan Beach

No charges for beach brawl

UPDATE: 3:20 p.m.

RCMP have stated that no charges are pending at this time in relation to the Saturday night beach brawl in Penticton.

Police responded at about 9 p.m. for reports of 10 to 15 people fighting on the beach near Power Street and Lakeshore Drive.

Sgt. Kirsten Marshall said one man was arrested at the scene after witnesses confirmed he was the instigator.

"Many of those who were participating in the violence were intoxicated and departed the area upon police arrival at the scene. Although there were no serious injuries reported to police, and no individuals who required medical care at the scene, BC Emergency Health Services personnel also attended as a precaution," Sgt. Kristen Marshall said.

Anyone with any additional information, who has not yet spoken to police can contact the Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300.

ORIGINAL: 1 p.m.

A Penticton Saturday night at the beach turned suddenly and shockingly violent when a man reportedly began beating a woman and bystanders had to intervene to break up the brawl.

Drew* was walking his dog with some friends down Lakeshore Drive past the Okanagan Lake Beach fire pits on the evening of May 15. They paused for a moment to sit down and rest nearby.

"Then I noticed there was a bunch of shouting started. Someone shouted something about something being stolen," Drew said. He looked toward the group at the fire pit and noticed a man with a young girl, about five or six years of age. The man was yelling at a woman in the group.

"And all the sudden he just cold cocks her right in the face," Drew said.

"Everyone started shouting. Another girl came up, he hit her ... guys were trying to get this to stop and he just starts hitting everyone and pushing them. It escalated pretty quickly ... then he hit this girl so hard again that I ended up running in."

The scene was chaos, as bystanders like Drew got involved to try and subdue the man who had started the assault. Drew and his friends ended up pulling the little girl, who Drew learned was the man's daughter, away from the fray.

"Because every time the daughter came near to him, he would grab on to her and use her as kind of a shield," Drew explained. "It turned into a brawl. He was hitting women, he was hitting people who were trying to help, it was pretty insane."

Multiple other witness reports shared on social media tell the same shocking tale — a sudden vicious burst of violence. Another witness who spoke briefly to Castanet also shared that the daughter was being used as a shield, calling it "so bad."

Several RCMP cars arrived quickly, and Drew said the man grabbed his daughter again and began to walk away.

"But I just yelled at the cops, 'That's him that's him!' And everybody started doing the same thing," Drew said. Drew and one of his friends tried his best to keep the little girl calm while police put her father into a police vehicle.

"We just sat on the bench and had a talk, I let her pet my dog, just tried to kind of console her," Drew said. "She's just a little girl, it would have been traumatizing."

Drew stayed with the girl until a police officer came over and said they would take her to her mother.

"And she said well what if my mom's not home? And the officer said 'Well, I know your Grandma!' So I said 'Well at least you're going to have a surprise sleepover with someone tonight!' You know, just trying to keep her calm," Drew said.

RCMP collected multiple statements according to Drew though he was not asked to give one. He assumed they had enough to be going with given the crowds of witnesses.

Drew said the woman who had been hit at first showed he and his friends her growing bruises, and told them she thought the attack was over her refusal to sleep with the man.

After RCMP cleared the beach and the man was taken away, Drew and his friends waited around for a bit in case police came back wanting more statements, then continued on their walk.

He was glad to run into the little girl a little later in the evening further down the road, sitting with a woman who identified herself as her mother.

"[The girl] looked very sad and a little defeated, but she was ok," Drew said.

"She said 'They were the ones that let me pet their dog!' And I was like, oh good. At least we made somewhat of an impact."

Castanet has reached out to RCMP for more information and will update when that is available.

* Castanet has agreed to shield this witness' identity by using only his first name

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