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Highway 3 closed for takedown of suspect
Nicole Obre/Fernie Free Press
A Langley, B.C. man wanted in connection to an attempted murder and house fire was arrested near Fernie Thursday morning.
Andre Harvey Richard, 44, was taken into custody after a brief standoff that shut down Highway 3 between Fernie and Hosmer. Elk Valley RCMP received a report of an erratic/possibly impaired driver near Fernie at approximately 10:30 a.m. April 3.
"This morning in Fernie, a complainant called in an erratic driver," explained Corporal Holly Marks with the Langley RCMP on Thursday.
"The erratic driver ended up pulling over to the side of the road and the complainant approached the vehicle, but the suspect, Mr. Richard, actually jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the bush."
Members of the Elk Valley RCMP attended the scene and a crisis negotiator was called in. After about an hour, they were able to coax Richard into surrendering and he was arrested.
Langley RCMP obtained an arrest warrant for Richard on Wednesday for breaching his condition of no contact with his estranged wife. The breach is related to an attempted murder and house fire in the Willowbrook area of Langley that occurred early that morning.
Langley RCMP were called to a residence in the 19600 block of Wakefield Drive just after 1 am Pacific Time.
"What the investigation told us is that the ex-husband, Andre Richard, broke in to the residence, and we believe at that point started the fire, and went upstairs to assault his wife [with an unidentified weapon]," said Marks. "His step-daughter tried to intervene and was assaulted as well."
The mother, along with Richard's 14 year-old step-daughter and eight year-old biological son, were able to flee to a neighbour's house where they called the police.
"The last time [Richard] was seen was going down to the basement," said Marks. "Once the house had finished burning and police were able to complete a thorough search, they determined that Richard was not in the residence."
At this point, the Langley RCMP issued a search warrant and a charge on Richard for entering the family home and breaching the condition of no contact.
All three victims were taken to the hospital. The daughter received treatment for her injury and the mother is still recovering in hospital, but is expected to be released today. The son escaped uninjured and did not receive treatment.
After his arrest this morning, Richard was taken to Cranbrook where the Langley RCMP Serious Crime Investigators will be travelling to follow through on the investigation. A report to Crown Counsel will be completed later this afternoon and submitted for charge approval. Formal charges are expected to be laid within the next 24 hours. Richard is known to RCMP for previous domestic violence occurrences.