Kamloops Mounties are currently on scene at the downtown Denny’s after a man barricaded himself early this morning.
Police say the man went in as a customer, and after he received his bill, “he made a threat,” according to a press release.
The wait staff alerted the other employees and customers, who all evacuated the building, and the man was left alone inside.
When police got to the restaurant, the man closed all of the blinds.
“At one point, the male did exit one of the restaurant doors, he was brandishing a knife. When confronted with officers, the suspect went back into the restaurant,” the release reads.
RCMP say the natural gas has been shut off as a precautionary measure.
“Currently, the RCMP have the restaurant surrounded and are attempting to establish contact with the suspect inside.”
Residents in the area are being asked to stay inside unless they wish to leave their home and the area “until the situation has been resolved.”
Prince George resident Klaus Ofner was staying next door at the Sandman Inn and Suites when police knocked on his door around 7 a.m., telling him to evacuate the building.
“As we got evacuated, another officer had indicated that there was a man in Denny’s threatening that he was going to blow up the Denny’s with a bomb, so that’s why they were taking precautions to evacuate everybody from the side of the building that was facing Denny’s,” he says.
“I think he’s just a crazy guy and probably doesn’t have a bomb,” he adds.
Columbia Street is closed from Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue. Sixth Avenue is closed from Dominion Street to Nicola Street.
Avoid the area if you can.
UPDATE: 9:40 a.m.
The Sixth Avenue Montessori daycare has voluntarily evacuated staff and kids due to the unfolding police situation at Sixth and Columbia.
Maria McKay, the daycare's director, says the decision was made to leave for safety reasons.
The group has temporarily moved to the United Church preschool at 431 St. Paul St.
The man is still barricaded inside.
UPDATE: 1:30 p.m.
The standoff is now in its eighth hour. For safety reasons, police have issued a warning to the public and the media to not post images, video or information about police tactics.
"Our focus is on a peaceful resolution and we are continuing our negotiating efforts," says Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.
UPDATE 3:00 p.m.
The man has been removed from the restaurant by police. He was arrested at 2:45 p.m.
"Nobody was injured, including the suspect," says Cpl. Jodi Shelkie, calling the day's events "a very successful outcome."
The roads around Denny's will be closed for a time while the restaurant is secured, she adds.
"We’re going to go in to make sure the restaurant is safe and he didn't do anything in there that could potentially harm somebody."
As for charges, she says there is a possibility of them, and that investigators will be looking at what the man's intent was. At this time, Shelkie couldn't comment on his motives.
Further details will be released when available, she says.
UPDATE 4:05 p.m.
Kamloops Mounties have released a bit more information about today's standoff.
Police say many attempts throughout the day were made to communicate with the 29-year-old man, by a police negotiator, to no avail.
The suspect is from Kamloops, according to Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.
All investigation information will be forwarded to the B.C. Prosecution Service, which will determine appropriate charges.
The standoff started at 4 a.m. today (Aug. 2), when the man made a threat while in the restaurant. Staff and customers quickly evacuated, leaving the man alone.
The suspect closed all the blinds to all the windows and only exited the Denny's once. He brandished a knife when he saw police officers and went back inside.
He was arrested by the Southeast District Emergency Response Team at 2:45 p.m.