An off-duty Nanaimo RCMP officer was sprayed in the face with bear spray while going above and beyond the call of duty. At 5:30am on Saturday, January 18th, Cst. Mark Long was driving home after a night shift when he passed Sports Barbers on Wellington Road and saw a man looking into the windows. He thought it was strange, so he parked nearby and called the Nanaimo Detachment.

He got out of his car and watched the suspect break into the business through the front door and carry a cardboard box to his truck. Constable Gary O’Brien says Cst. Long realized he was about to lose track of the suspect, so he tried to stop him from leaving. During the altercation, the suspect sprayed him in the face with bear spray. The suspect took off when a police cruiser arrived, and he was chased for about 1.5kms. During the chase, he drove over a median and ended up driving the wrong way down Mostar Rd. He abandoned his car and took off on foot. A police dog named Boomer tracked him for about 20 minutes and found him hiding in some bushes. He struggled and was bitten. He was arrested and taken to hospital for treatment.

The 34 year old suspect is facing charges including Break and Enter, Assault with a Weapon (bear spray), Flight from a Police Officer and Dangerous Operation of a motor vehicle. Aside from suffering the initial effects of the bear spray, O’Brien says Cst. Long was not hurt during the incident.