An RCMP truck was set on fire and officers fought back dozens of civilians in a chaotic mob scene Friday morning in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche.
According to police, the chain of events started around 3: 15 a.m. when two members of the La Loche RCMP responded to a complaint of a fire outside a residence.
The officers, after parking their vehicle and activating their emergency equipment, attempted to stop two ATVs heading north. The drivers of the ATVs drove around the RCMP truck at speeds of approximately 40 to 60 kilometres per hour, with one fleeing the scene successfully while the other – a 29-year-old man – drove into a ditch and lost control.
After police approached the injured driver, the man stood up and identified himself before passing out. RCMP called an ambulance to the scene.
At the same time, there were parties at two nearby homes. Police said in a news release that while officers were talking with the injured man, “beer cans and bottles started to rain down on them from several people attending the two parties.” According to police, several people surrounded the RCMP truck and were swearing at the officers, blaming them for the man’s injuries.
When an ambulance crew arrived, emergency personnel also had cans, bottles and debris thrown at them. In addition, say police, several civilians in the area surrounded the police truck and ambulance, and were making threats.
After police and ambulance staff left the scene and took the injured man to hospital, approximately 50-70 people gathered outside the hospital and attempted to get in, say RCMP. Police believe the crowd intended on forcibly removing the two RCMP officers. Police and hospital staff barricaded the doors to keep the crowd outside.
In addition, RCMP used pepper spray on several people.
The front doors and windows of the hospital were heavily damaged. The ambulance that was used to transport the injured ATV driver suffered major damage to all of its windows, and a police truck was set on fire and destroyed.
All members of the La Loche RCMP detachment were deployed to the hospital to disperse the crowd and get the officers out safely.