No danger to public during prisoner escape Monday at Nelson Courthouse
A communications specialist with the Ministry of Justice/Attorney General said the public was not in any danger during a prisoner break Monday at the Nelson Courthouse.
Lauren Mulholland, Communications Manager at the Ministry of Justice/Attorney General told The Nelson Daily Tuesday that “minimal force” was needed to apprehend Andrew (Zacharias) Stevenson, who broke away from BC Sheriffs prior to court appearance to face 21 charges in connection with the robberies in the area.
“Contact was never made with the public and neither the prisoner nor the
sheriffs involved sustained any injuries,” Mulholland said in an emailed interview.
“Any danger was limited to the crossing of two busy streets. The foot chase
took place primarily in an alley.”
Mulholland said the sheriffs gave chase and apprehended the prisoner within two city blocks of the courthouse.
“Minimal force was required to take the prisoner to the ground and handcuff
him. No gun was drawn,” Mulholland said.
“Custody of individual was then transferred to the Nelson Police and he was
taken to the city police lock up,” Mulholland added.
Mulholland said Monday (September 15) at approximately 9 a.m., Stevenson, was being transported into the Nelson provincial courthouse.
When Stevenson, the escorting officer and the deputy sheriff reached the sheriff access only door at the courthouse, the prisoner fled.
“The individual then threw his crutches and fled,” Mulholland explained.
“As a result of his being on crutches, the prisoner was not wearing leg irons.
“The sheriff gave chase and apprehended the prisoner within two city blocks
of the courthouse.”
Mullholland said the B.C. Sheriff Services is reviewing this incident and the current practices and policies surrounding the transportation of prisoners in Nelson.
Stevenson, 34, is facing 21 counts of criminal charges including armed robbery, break and entering and unlawful discharge of a firearm.
The current charges are in relation to the Nelson and District Credit Union robbery as well as the robbery of the Kootenay Currency Exchange on April 11, and the break-ins at Simply Shoppers and Pharmasave in Castlegar on April 18, Crown Counsel said.
Nelson Deputy Chief Paul Burkart said Stevenson will now face another charge, the 22nd, for Escaping Lawful Custody.