According to police, upon the attempt at a traffic stop in Merritt on June 6, 2021, the driver of the vehicle immediately fled the scene, prompting the responding officer to notify dispatch. (Kamloops This Week)

According to police, upon the attempt at a traffic stop in Merritt on June 6, 2021, the driver of the vehicle immediately fled the scene, prompting the responding officer to notify dispatch. (Kamloops This Week)

Fort St. John man charged with attempted murder following shootout with Merritt RCMP

Gerald Cooper, 46, is charged with five counts of attempted murder

A Fort St. John man has been charged with five counts of attempted murder after a shootout with police in Merritt earlier this week.

Gerald Cooper, 46, is also facing a charge of fleeing police.

The charges stem from an incident on June 6, in which RCMP in Merritt attempted to stop a truck that had allegedly failed to stop for police earlier the same day and had been involved in a theft in Lytton the previous day.

According to S/Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, those attempts were unsuccessful. Eventually, shots were exchanged between police and the occupants of the vehicle.

Officers discovered two people inside the truck. One adult male and one child, believed to be under the age of 12-years old, were taken to hospital. No one else was injured.

The Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO BC) is now investigating to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the two injuries.

Cooper is expected to appear in court in Kamloops on June 9.

Anyone who may have been a witness to this incident, or has a dashcam or other video and has not already spoken with police, is asked to contact the Merritt RCMP and cite file 2021-2399.

READ MORE: Hundreds rally in Kelowna in support of Fairy Creek blockade

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