WINNIPEG — An RCMP officer was shot and seriously injured while responding to a break-and-enter call near a small resort town in western Manitoba, prompting an hours-long hunt for four suspects who split up and left the area.
Assistant Commissioner Scott Kolody, the force's commanding officer in Manitoba, said two officers got out of their car at a rural property near Onanole on Wednesday night when they were immediately fired upon.
RCMP said officers did not shoot back.
"One officer was struck and airlifted to a Winnipeg hospital," Kolody said Thursday. "Earlier this morning, our officers arrested three adult male suspects ... We continue to look for an additional suspect who is considered armed and dangerous."
When the suspects split up following the shooting, some left on foot and at least one was in a Black 2005 GMC Sierra extended cab pickup truck. The truck has not been located.
The 42-year-old injured corporal was in stable but serious condition in hospital, Kolody said. He did not divulge details of the injuries.
Kolody said he visited the injured officer's family Thursday morning.
"They are deeply shaken by this incident," he said. "The RCMP is truly a large family and what has unfolded over the last few hours truly affects every officer and employee from coast to coast."
The injured officer is a passionate, dedicated man, Kolody said.
Lloyd Ewashko, reeve of the Rural Municipality of Harrison Park —which includes Onanole — said dozens of officers were in the area after the shooting.
"It was quite intense," Ewashko said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
"I would imagine in and around 35, 40. Some were out in the field manning roadblocks; some were here in our office."
Craig Atkinson, a municipal councillor, said he understood the three arrests were made along or near a provincial highway.
"I believe (the suspects) were seen or reported to be breaking into people's houses."
Onanole is about 100 kilometres north of Brandon and sits near the entrance to Riding Mountain National Park. It has about 350 year-round residents and others who own cottages.
"We're not used to that type of activity in our community and it's frightening for sure," Ewashko said.