Granville Street and the Granville bridge was briefly shut down today in a brazen hostage-taking at a 7-11 location.
According to VPD Const. Brian Montague, a 37-year-old man entered the store around 11:30 a.m. and took a female employee hostage, threatening her with a large knife. The man, who is not known to police, proceeded to pour lighter fluid on the employee before taking her to a back room and threatening to light her on fire. Police believe the two had a previous relationship.
Dustin Barrett was at the intersection of Granville and Drake when the incident occurred.
“I was on Granville and saw a man walk into the 7-11 and he had a knife about a foot long that he put to the throat of the woman and then locked themselves into a back room,” Barrett said. “About 20 cop cars showed up, including EMTs and an ambulance and a fire truck. I had no idea why a fire truck was there until a lady who was in the store told me the guy had doused her in gasoline.”
Montague said that police negotiators managed to convince the man to release the hostage and surrendered to police shortly after. The victim was transported to hospital an hour after the incident occurred with minor injuries.
Other witnesses on the scene described police officers smashing security cameras inside the store in what Montague called a preventative measure.
“That was done so the man inside, or others potentially involved, could not see police entering so the security cameras were taken out so that police could enter safely,” Montague said. “In any situation like this that occurs quickly we’re not sure how many people are involved so in the outmost of caution we will presume there are others in the store.”
Reported by Richard Hodges
A photo slideshow of pictures taken during and after the hostage-taking. Photos by Richard Hodges and Dustin Barrett.