A very large police presence at Pearkes Arena in Saanich as police respond to an aggravated person who may have a gun. Keri Coles/BLACK PRESS

Police standoff at B.C. rec centre after man claims to have gun

Heavily-armed police in Victoria brought in a negotiator and the suspect eventually surrendered

A man has been apprehended after a standoff at a recreation centre in Greater Victoria Wednesday night.

A very large police presence, including an armoured vehicle, the Saanich Police and the Emergency Response Team (ERT), surrounded Pearkes Recreation Centre around 9 p.m. after an aggravated man called 911 from a payphone in the lobby claiming to have a gun.

Police say there were people inside the building at the time and while some were ushered away from the scene, others were told to hide inside until it was over. People exiting a movie theatre next door were also moved away from the scene.

A police negotiator talked to the suspect and was able to eventually de-escalate the situation, said Acting Sgt. Cory Scott from the Saanich Police Department. During these negotiations, police say the man was extremely emotional and insisted he had a gun.

The man surrendered around 10:30 p.m. No one was injured.

The suspect, believed to be in his 20s, was taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act.

No firearm was located by arresting officers and police say the man later admitted he never had one in his possession.

with files from Keri Coles

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Saanich police and the ERT responded to a 911 call from a potentially-armed aggravated man in the lobby of Pearkes Arena Wednesday night. Keri Coles/BLACK PRESS

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