Man charged after hatchet attack at MEC in North Vancouver

Hatchet attack at MEC

A man has been charged after he allegedly threatened to kill customers with a hatchet at a Mountain Equipment Company store in North Vancouver.

Just after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, police arrived at the store after receiving multiple calls of the man swinging the hatchet at customers.

The man first entered the store, asking to buy bear spray and a knife, according to witness reports given to North Vancouver RCMP. Once he was denied, he became upset and threatened to kill people there, said Const. Mansoor Sahak, adding that there were less than 50 customers in the store at the time.

The man left the store briefly, but then returned moments later “swinging a hatchet at people inside the store,” Sahak said.

Police were on scene minutes after the first 911 calls, Sahak said, and the man was taken into custody “without any further incident.” No one was injured, he added.

“He was initially apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken to [Lions Gate Hospital] where he was then released shortly after and … transferred into police custody,” Sahak said.

The man had a bail hearing on Wednesday, Sahak added, with recommendations of a charge for possession of weapon for dangerous purpose. The results of that bail hearing are not yet known.

Sahak said the man has a “violent history” with police, and lives with no fixed address in Vancouver.

“Obviously, this person is a danger,” Sahak said. “[His actions] put a lot of people’s lives at risk at the business with the hatchet, and quite a few customers were scared, and they were hiding inside the store – it’s obviously very frightening for those witnesses.”

Sahak said there is a mental health component to the incident as well.

“That’s why he was apprehended under the Mental Health Act initially. We want to make sure that this individual is taken care of and getting the help that he needs,” Sahak said.

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