Paramedics assaulted at winter shelter

By on January 29, 2018
Emergency Health Services. (Herald file photo)

Two female paramedics were attacked while attending a call at Merritt’s winter shelter on Nicola Avenue Friday (Jan. 26).

“They had a lady there that seemed out of sorts,” said Dunsmore. “She was unresponsive [and] wasn’t responding to the staff there.”

Emergency Health Services was called to the shelter at about 4:30 p.m. and the woman assaulted the paramedics when they tried to check on her, said RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore.

Both paramedics received several blows from the patient before police arrived on scene. They were treated for undisclosed injuries and released from the Nicola Valley Hospital Dunsmore told the Herald.

The assailant was also taken to hospital, with the assistance of police, before being admitted to a forensics psychiatric hospital in Kamloops.

Dunsmore said police do not have any safety concerns with the shelter following this incident.

“We have incidents just like anywhere else,” Dunsmore told the Herald adding that there haven’t been incidents like this at the shelter before.

Shelter co-ordinator Ava Dean said that paramedics are periodically called to the shelter for medical issues and doesn’t believe there has ever been a time they have not felt safe.

“Rarely is there ever any physical violence at the shelter,” said Dean.

The assailant is not from Merritt and she was released from the Kamloops hospital on a promise to appear in court to face assault charges, Dunsmore said.


Dean told the Herald the woman in question experienced a medical emergency that was not drug related.

While the Nicola Valley Shelter and Support Society has the option to ban people from its facility, Dean said she plans to discuss the incident with the woman first — if she returns — in order to determine if they should go that route.

“We’ll sit down and talk to her and find out what was going on and see just what the extenuating circumstances were,” Dean said.

The winter shelter in Merritt is at 2038 Nicola Avenue. (Michael Potestio/Herald).


















This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. to add comment from shelter co-ordinator Ava Dean.

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