Skip to content

Shots fired by stranger interrupts family camping trip in East Kootenay

A family camping in Jaffray backcountry recounts bewildering experience; suspect at large
RCMP are continuing the search for a suspect and vehicle involved in a serious weapons disturbance on Wednesday, May 8, in the Jaffray area. RCMP handout.

A family camping trip in the backcountry of Jaffray took a turn for the worst – with gun shots fired, damage to their vehicles and a suspect at large – in a turn of events they won’t soon forget.

The father, Dave, said he was awoken early Wednesday morning after hearing some loud banging noises in the area where he was camping on Crown land near Baynes Lake.

Black Press Media has chosen not to publicly identify the father or son for their safety.

Dave’s son, who was already awake, called him from another area of their site saying that someone was smashing into the camper.

Running outside, Dave could see damage to his Nissan 350Z and that his camper was off its jacks. A man in a truck could be seen fleeing the area.

In a phone interview Friday, Dave told Black Press Media that he and his son ran to their truck and tried to catch up to the truck, at least enough to get a licence plate number. Dave’s girlfriend stayed behind at their site.

Familiar with the area, Dave said he took a shortcut to get to an exit road in hopes of cutting off the truck.

As the two vehicles met, Dave said he saw the man had a shotgun.

“I see him shoot out his front windshield with this shotgun and then he’s got the shotgun out the windshield pointing it right at me and my son,” Dave said.

“So I speed off like a bat out of hell and he comes flying after us and he fires off five shots behind us and I don’t know how he didn’t hit the truck, but I’m kind of weaving and bobbing.

“He ends up coming right beside us, window-to-window, he’s got the gun right out the passenger window, pointed right at me and my son and I hit my brakes. I juked right really quick and he ended up smashing a tree.”

Dave said the man then backed up and took off through a “heavily treed” forest area. His son connected with 911, who told them to stay at the Suzie Forest Road intersection with Highway 3 south of Galloway.

But the man didn’t leave the area, Dave said, instead returning to their campsite to further damage his sports car and camper – also threatening his girlfriend with the gun before fleeing.

A heavy police presence could be seen in the area as investigators searched the area for the suspect and damaged truck.

As of Saturday morning, the suspect was believed to still be at large.

Police are looking for an older model dark grey Ford F-150, with a headache rack, camouflage along the sides, and heavy damage to the windshield and front-end and with BC licence plate SM9740.

“Police are asking the public to call 911 should they observe the suspect vehicle, and to not engage with the driver,” RCMP spokesperson Cpl. James Grandy said in a statement.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
Read more