An investigation is underway after a patient, allegedly armed with a knife or similar weapon, chased a doctor and staff member at BC Women’s Hospital and tried to enter a locked nursery as staff hid to protect themselves, according to Vancouver police.
Sergeant. Steve Addison said the 911 calls began coming in around 10:30 a.m. Thursday from staff and a social worker who feared the woman. The woman’s child is also a patient in the hospital.
They said a beanbag gun was used to shoot the woman, who is in her 30s. They later took her into custody.
Addison said police were initially told the woman had a knife, but when officers arrived she had a different weapon and was uncooperative.
“I can tell you it was a dangerous weapon, an edged weapon,” Addison said. “We have not said what that weapon is. We are deliberately withholding it for evidentiary reasons, for the integrity of the investigation.”
Addison said the incident came to light after several conversations at the hospital about possibly restricting access to the woman’s child and involving the Children’s Ministry.
The VPD took an unusual step Posting a long twitter thread About the police response.
But the women’s advocate criticized the VPD’s actions in what was clearly a difficult situation for the woman.
“Vancouver police have somewhat backtracked on their position, and even on whether it was a knife,” said Angela Marie McDougall, executive director of Battered Women’s Support Services.
“Their initial response was not helpful and reinforced many stigmas.”
‘She wanted her baby’
“[The police] “It looks like this random woman was violent, and violent towards everyone in the space when we could clearly see that this was a mother who had been given the bad news of her child being taken away and she wanted her child,” McDougal said.
Addison said the woman could face charges including possession of a knife, assault and breach of probation. She was treated at a hospital for minor injuries to her lower body, he said.
“The beanbag shotgun was used in this case for exactly what it was designed for … and helped us safely resolve a very tense and volatile and dangerous situation without any injury to the public, staff, children or her, Addison said.
Vancouver police have recently faced scrutiny after a man was shot dead with a beanbag gun on the Downtown Eastside. Police have defended using beanbag guns “Less Fatal” A method of subduing a suspect.
Addison said the VPD’s response to the women’s hospital was justified because of the severity of the situation, which he compared to school shootings in the U.S. such as Uvalde and Sandy Hook.
“We weren’t going to wait until someone was killed or someone seriously injured before we acted,” he said.
“A person with a knife or a gun or a deadly weapon within an institutional setting and putting vulnerable people at risk, in such a situation we are trained to move immediately to deal with the threat.”
VPD Sgt. John Rogers said that the effect of a beanbag gun is similar to the average officer hitting someone as hard as they can with a stick.
“The luxury of the beanbag shotgun is that you can do it from a distance. And the advantage of distance is that it gives officers a chance to plan, act and assess,” he said.
In a statement, the provincial health services authority said it wanted to reassure the public that the issue was contained.
“Our campus continues to be safe and secure for patients, their families and staff and visitors,” the statement read. “No one was seriously injured.”