Federal inmate tries to escape during medical appointment in Abbotsford
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. -- A federal prisoner is accused of making an escape while they were being escorted to a medical appointment, according to police.
The incident happened just before 3 p.m. Thursday in the area of Abbotsford Way and Marshall Road.
Sgt. Judy Bird said Abbotsford police officers were called to the area for shots fired but did not know it involved an inmate until they arrived.
“Upon arrival, we did learn that it was Correction Services Officer trying to apprehend an escaped federal offender. We're happy that we were able to assist Correctional Services Canada with the manpower that we had,” she told CTV News.
Along with the department’s officers, the Lower Mainland District Integrated Police Dog Services and RCMP Air One Helicopter were also called to the incident.
She said the suspect was not injured when the correctional officer discharged their firearm.
The suspect didn’t escape for long. Bird said the prisoner was found by two Abbotsford police officers a short distance away and taken into custody in about 15 minutes.
She said the quick arrest speaks to the level of dedication officers have to training for high-risk situations.
“This is very, very important to our police department to make sure our officers are trained and ready for this type of situation, to make sure that our community is very safe and everybody in the community does feel safe,” she said.
She said the public is no longer at risk.
CSC has identified the suspect as Stephane Bissonnette, an inmate at Pacific Institution, a multi-level security federal facility in Abbotsford.
An inmate by that same name had fled while at a medical appointment eight years ago in Winnipeg. In that situation, the fugitive escaped through a third-storey window while he was in hospital as guards stood outside. He was captured a few days later.
CSC confirmed Friday that Bissonnette also has a conviction from 2012 for escape lawful custody.
The Abbotsford Police Major Crime Detectives have taken over the investigation.
Bird said police anticipate recommending charges against the inmate.
It’s unclear which facility the prisoner is from or what kind of medical appointment they were going to.
CTV News has connected Correctional Service Canada and will update the story once information becomes available.
Anyone in the area of the incident with surveillance footage, dashcam video or information is asked to contact police at 604-859-5225.