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Two dragonboat festival participants bear-sprayed in Nanaimo

Man and woman, both in their 60s, say motorist yelled at them for walking on the road
RCMP are looking for the driver who allegedly bear-spayed a couple in their 60s for walking in the roadway of a street in downtown Nanaimo. (File photo)

RCMP are looking for witnesses after two dragonboaters were bear-sprayed by a motorist in downtown Nanaimo.

According to police, the incident happened Sunday, July 10 at about 1:30 p.m.

Reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the couple, who are in their early 60s and were in town from the Lower Mainland to participate in the weeekend festival, were walking south on Cliff Street when a driver in a grey car started yelling at them for walking on the road.

“The driver swore at both of them and then produced what was later determined to be a can of bear spray,” O’Brien said. “The driver deployed the bear spray, striking the husband in the left side of his face and body and also contaminated [his wife] to a lesser degree.”

The vehicle fled westbound on Campbell Street and the couple were able to get the licence plate number.

“The [car’s] registered owner is denying any involvement, so we are following up and looking for witnesses,” O’Brien said.

He did not have information on whether the couple required medical assistance following the attack, but said their attacker could face a charge of assault with a weapon.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2022-23707.

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