Three suspects charged after kidnapping in Merritt, B.C., police say

Three suspects have been arrested in connection to a Merritt, B.C., kidnapping.

A BC RCMP emergency response team and Merritt RCMP officers made the arrests Friday after suspects tried to flee from a home that officers were “clearing.”

“The suspects attempted to flee from police, however, police were able to track down and arrest the individuals,” said Merritt RCMP Sgt. Josh Roda.

“The victim was located by police and was uninjured.”

Gunshots Friday afternoon in the 1300-block of Priest Ave. alerted police to an ongoing incident, in which officers saw a suspect vehicle fleeing a scene.

“When officers arrived in the area, a dark coloured sedan was seen speeding away from the area,” said Roda.

“The sedan was located parked near a residence in the 1700-block of Nicola Avenue in Merritt.”

Braeden Shane Drake, Mark Ethan Giesbrecht and William Joseph Lavoie have been charged by indictment for hostage taking with a firearm and entering a dwelling house without lawful excuse to commit an indictable offence, according to police.

All three suspects are being held in custody.

RCMP officers were seen conducting an operation in Merritt, B.C., Friday evening.

RCMP officers were seen conducting an operation in Merritt, B.C., Friday evening.

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It is unclear if the suspects are involved in a recent string of shootings in Merritt, but police said the community is safer with them in custody.

“There has been a brazen disregard for public safety recently in our community and having these individuals off our streets will hopefully restore a sense of security back to the community,” Roda said.

Earlier on Friday, police responded to a report of gunshots in the 2100-block of Priest Ave.

When police arrived, they deemed the shooting to be targeted.

“The callers identified a distinctive mid ’90s grey Dodge Ram pickup with a maroon box in the area at the time of the shooting,” said Sgt. Josh Roda.

“The truck then fled the scene at a high rate of speed.”

Shortly after the reports of the shooting, a complaint was received by police for a burning vehicle.

Merritt shooting

Merritt RCMP said this truck is believed to be a suspect vehicle in Friday's shooting.

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Police believe multiple shootings near Merritt, B.C. were targeted

Police believe it’s the same truck that was used in Friday morning’s shooting, which was deemed to have been stolen around 5:30 a.m.

On Tuesday, RCMP said there were multiple shootings between 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.

Police said more than 100 shots were fired in three different locations, two on Indigenous reserve land and one within the city.

Police previously said they know multiple suspects were traveling around in vehicles.

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