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B.C. family assaulted with bear spray in Walmart parking dispute

An ambulance is shown in this undated file photo. An ambulance is shown in this undated file photo.
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Mounties on Vancouver Island are investigating after a Walmart parking lot dispute erupted into violence in which a man and his four young children were bear sprayed by an unknown assailant.

The Nanaimo RCMP say the argument over a parking space occurred at 12:45 p.m. Monday at the Walmart in the Woodgrove Centre mall.

A family of six were reportedly attempting to park their truck and boat trailer when they were cut off by a man in a dark-coloured SUV, which police say resembled a Hummer.

The man's wife told investigators that her husband got out of the truck to confront the other driver, who produced a can of bear spray and assaulted the family.

"The man and his children, ranging in ages from one to six, had all been contaminated to some degree by the bear spray," Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson Const. Gary O'Brien said in a release Wednesday.

The victims were all treated at the scene by paramedics, police said.

The husband responded to the attack by grabbing a tire iron from the truck and smashing out a window on the SUV, which fled south on Highway 19A, according to investigators.

The man who deployed the bear spray is described as a white man in his 60s who has grey hair and was wearing a green shirt at the time.

"This was a situation where if cooler heads had prevailed, this dispute could have been resolved without resorting to this level of violence," O'Brien added.

Anyone with information about the incident or the identity of the SUV driver is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

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