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RCMP charge man for allegedly dousing house with gas, threatening officers with axe

Accused facing two serious assault charges and another for allegedly forcing a woman to consume drugs
Caretakers at Innisfail’s Westwood Court Mobile Home Park check out the residence involved in a tense standoff with RCMP during the early morning hours of July 9. A 57-year-old Innisfail man is facing a trio of serious Criminal Code charges in connection to the incident. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

An Innisfail local man who allegedly threatened RCMP with an axe and then said he would burn down a trailer home is in police custody facing a trio of serious Criminal Code charges.

The incident at Innisfail’s Westwood Court Mobile Home Park during the early morning hours of July 9 shocked residents.

“Multiple police showed up. I mean a lot; the whole avenue was just lined with police cars,” said a neighbour who witnessed the dramatic standoff that began at about 12:45 a.m. “They used a drone to try to see what was going on. They had their guns drawn, so it was a pretty intense situation.

“We're thinking, ‘what on earth is going on across there?’ she added. “This went on for hours of trying to get this guy out of this trailer.”

The neighbour said she knew the woman in the home, and that she had an eight-year-old daughter who was no longer living with her.

“(The mother's) life kind of went downhill,” said the neighbour. “And this guy got into her life, and it went even further downhill. We think its drugs.”

Innisfail RCMP later told the Albertan the incident at the trailer park went on for more than four hours before ending without any major injuries to civilians or police.

By 11 a.m. on July 9 park caretakers were at the trailer home, which had its doors and windows open to air out the odour of gasoline.

Innisfail RCMP Staff Sgt Ian Ihme said up to 20 police officers from four RCMP detachments, including Innisfail, Red Deer. Olds, Didsbury, as well as the Emergency Response Team, were involved in the response to the tense incident.

Ihme said the incident, which involved alcohol and drugs, began as a domestic assault with the 57-year-old male suspect barricading himself in his house.

He said there was a common-law partner in the home but no children.

“He poured gasoline all over the house. When our guys went in to arrest them, he pulled an axe on them,” said Ihme, adding information is still not clear of the suspect’s intentions. “Obviously he had some intention but in the end he never actually started anything on fire but there was definitely a fire risk.

“My guys backed out and contained the house and waited for the emergency response team to come, and they surrounded the house,” added Ihme. “He eventually gave up without any incident, was arrested and is currently in our cells.”

Ihme said the common-law spouse was hurt from the original assault and received treatment at the Innisfail Health Centre. She has since been discharged from hospital care.

He said there were no other injuries to any other civilians or police.

Ihme said the 57-year-old accused Innisfail man is facing the following charges:

• assault with a weapon;

• assault causing bodily harm;

• four counts of failing to comply with release conditions, and

• administering a noxious substance.

“It looks like there was allegations that he had forced the woman to consume drugs, and he allegedly poured gas all over the house,” said Ihme of the administering a noxious substance charge. “So, it could be for both, the gasoline could be noxious as well.”

Ihme said the accused remains in police custody, and is currently under guard at the Innisfail hospital.

“He’s just having some medical issues,” said Ihme.

He said the accused is scheduled to appear in Red Deer court on the morning of July 11.

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