News » Whistler

Busy but mainly peaceful May long weekend

17-year-old injured after starting fight; bear spray used in two attacks



While the number of calls was up over last year, Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair believes that the resort is continuing to move in the right direction when it comes to curbing violence and rowdy behaviour during the once infamous May long weekend.

"I'm generally pleased with how things went," he said. "We did have to deal constantly with visitors causing problems, but we're dealing with it the only way you can deal with it, and that's to be on top of them all the time."

The Whistler RCMP had every officer in the field, as well as officers borrowed from Squamish and one officer from Burnaby who has worked in Whistler on a regular basis. They had up to nine members of the BC Integrated Gang Task Force assisting, as well as assistance patrolling the highway.

The May long weekend has become popular for grad classes, as well as younger Lower Mainland residents. Most of the calls were regarding males in their late teens to early 20s, including numerous calls to assist hotel staff in evicting noisy partiers from hotel rooms.

All told, the RCMP answered 146 calls from May 18 through May 21. That's up significantly from 2011, where police responded to 105 calls, but it was less than the 157 calls from 2010.

Most of the calls were related to intoxication, although there was one serious altercation where a 17-year-old from Surrey was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Vancouver after being punched and hitting his head on the ground.

According to the RCMP, they removed the same 17-year-old from a property on Casabella Crescent after receiving a call from individuals staying at the property. The 17-year-old had entered the residence with a friend, and became aggressive when he was asked to leave. The RCMP responded at 4:44 a.m. on the morning of May 20, and then ticketed the male for trespassing after refusing to leave.

That afternoon at 12:40 p.m. the RCMP received a call regarding a fight in the village involving 10 males, and arrived to find the 17-year-old on the ground in a pool of blood. Talking to witnesses they found the male who punched him, an 18-year-old from Delta, in a nearby restaurant.

According to his statement, verified by witnesses, the 17-year-old and his friends became aggressive towards their group. The 17-year-old was intoxicated and attacked the male, who threw one punch in defence.

The 18-year-old was not charged.

There were also two cases of bear spray being used in village attacks.

On May 20 at 3:11 a.m. a 21-year-old male from Coquitlam and 21-year-old female from Port Coquitlam were walking home when they were approached by a group of males. A male described as dark-skinned and wearing a Gucci hat sprayed the two with bear spray.