After a weekend shooting that injured an adult male suspect and an 11-year-old boy, a man has been charged with the attempted murder of five RCMP officers. Gerald Hartley Cooper is due in provincial court in Kamloops, British Columbia, on Wednesday for a bail hearing on five counts of attempted murder and one count of failing to stop a vehicle while being chased by police, according to court records.
The accusations stem from a nearly two-hour standoff in Merritt, B.C., on Saturday afternoon when police attempted to halt a Ford F-350 truck pulling a flatbed trailer that was reportedly linked to a stolen property file. The suspect car is accused of refusing to stop and eluding authorities. It was later seen by police, who used a spike belt to halt the truck before it took off again and eventually came to a stop when the driver was caught.
According to the RCMP, gunfire was exchanged during the event, which is now being investigated by the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia. In cases involving police shootings, the IIO frequently intervenes. Cooper, who was born in 1975, had his first in-custody appearance on Monday evening through the province’s Justice Centre. On evenings and weekends, the center is open 24 hours a day to perform virtual bail hearings.
The names of the five alleged victims match those of Merritt detachment members who have been revealed in previous media releases, including a newcomer to the police who just graduated from the RCMP training depot. Cooper was scheduled to appear in provincial court in Fort St. John, B.C., on Thursday to enter pleas in relation to two weapons offenses, according to court records.
Last year, he was charged with making or transferring a firearm, as well as possessing a magazine with the clip removed. Cooper was given a notice of undertaking before being freed. According to the IIO, a man and his 11-year-old son were discovered inside the truck with significant injuries and were rushed to the hospital on Monday.Both the man and the boy are expected to make a full recovery. The IIO has taken over the investigation and will look into whether the injuries were caused by officers’ acts or inactions. In court, none of the charges have been proven.