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Man charged with Merritt shootout with police while child was in car

MERRITT (NEWS 1130) – A man from Fort St. John is charged with attempted murder by police say he shot officers over the weekend.

Just before 4pm on Sunday, Mounties attempted to stop a white Ford F350 and trailer that were believed to have been stolen. There was a child under the age of 12 and an adult in the vehicle.

“The vehicle reportedly did not stop,” said BC’s Independent Investigations Office (IIO).

A short time later, around 5:30 p.m., the police discovered the vehicle again, this time on Highway 5A and without a trailer.

Related article: Child, adult seriously injured in highway shooting with Merritt RCMP: IIO

“The police used a spiked seat belt and finally the vehicle stopped, but then drove on again before it came to a stop on Highway 8 near Snake Road and Highway 97C,” the RCMP said on Sunday.

Mounties said shots were fired or exchanged between the suspect vehicle and officers during the incident.

@iiobc investigates shooting with officers in Merritt https://t.co/eunm67chMY

– IIOBC (@iiobc) June 7, 2021

Both the child and the adult were taken to hospital, seriously injured. The police do not provide any information about their condition.

According to the investigators, no one was injured.

Gerald Cooper, 46, of Fort St. John has been confronted five times for attempted murder with a gun and once for escaping from the police. He is on trial on Wednesday.

The IIO was consulted, as always when someone is killed or injured while interacting with the police, to determine whether the officers’ act or inaction led to the injuries.

With files from Kareem Gouda

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