A rubber bullet to the gut and the lunge of a police dog brought a tense standoff to an abrupt end Friday afternoon on the downtown Kelowna Marina dock.
After negotiating with a distraught, knife-wielding man for about two hours, police sprang into action when the time was right, which happened to be 3:02 p.m.
That was when eight regular uniformed cops on the dock were joined by three special officers in green tactical gear. Two of the special officers had police dogs.
It was getting crowded on the dock when an officer fired the rubber bullet at the man, one of the dogs pounced, the man stumbled and four other officers pinned him to the dock, face down, hands behind his back.
The police dog was led quickly from the scene and the man remained held on the dock, speaking with police.
There was no yelling or screaming, not even raised voices.
Shortly after, the clean-shaven man, who has blond hair and appeared to be in his early 50s, was led by police up the ramp of the dock and onto the plaza surrounding The Sails sculpture at the foot of Bernard Avenue.
During the short walk, the man appeared to have an animated conversation with one of the officers.
The man had a bloody cut on his right cheek, and his light-blue puffer jacket and shirt were dishevelled.
He was led to one of the nine waiting police vehicles, left with the ignition running and lights flashing, that had been assembled on the plaza and sidewalk surrounding The Sails.
“Officers did an incredible job de-escalating the situation and taking the man into custody safely,” said Kelowna RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Meghan Foster.
“We’ll see if he needs medical attention and then take him to the detachment and start getting him some help, because he clearly needs it.”
Foster did not know what set the man off.
Police said no criminal charges have been laid and the man’s name will not be released.
By the time the man was captured and led away, the area surrounding The Sails and the entrance to the dock had taken on a carnival atmosphere.
A crowd gathered, initially quite close to the dock before officers put up police tape to hold the horde back to at least east of The Sails.
While it was a two-hour drama, there were lulls during which some people left to get coffee or ice cream and returned to see what was happening.
“Lots of spectators in a public place make the job tougher for police,” said Foster.
“Our priorities are keeping the public, police and the suspect safe, and using the least amount of force possible.”
Police were first called to the marina around 1:10 p.m. to deal with a man on the dock with a hunting knife who was apparently threatening to hurt himself.
At times during the negotiation, he pointed the knife at his throat and positioned it as if he was going to plunge it into his stomach.
He paced back and forth on the dock in front of police, some of whom had guns drawn.
Sometimes, he spoke animatedly with police, waving his arms and gesturing with his hands and the knife.
Other times, he just stood there.
He also made calls on his cellphone, some lasting only a few seconds, one lasting about 10 minutes.