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Patient arrested at BC Women's Hospital after allegedly trying to break into nursery


A patient at BC Women's Hospital was shot with beanbag rounds and arrested after allegedly trying to break into a nursery on Thursday morning, in a frightening incident that has local advocates calling for compassion.

Vancouver police said officers responded to multiple 911 calls from staff and a social worker at the hospital, who reported a woman was acting in a threatening manner and carrying a weapon.

"The suspect was in close proximity to staff, babies, and at least one other pregnant woman," Sgt. Steve Addison told CTV News in an email.

"It was reported that the suspect was trying to break into the nursery with a knife. It was also reported that the suspect had lunged at a staff member with a weapon in her hand."

A number of staff members "barricaded themselves in rooms with babies" during the incident, Addison added.

Officers arrived and fired beanbag rounds at the woman, who was taken out of the hospital in restraints and attended to by paramedics outside.

BC Women's Hospital confirmed no one was seriously hurt during the tense situation.

"The actions of our officers safely resolved a volatile and terrifying situation without injury to innocent people," Addison said.

Police said the suspect was not carrying a knife when they arrived, but that she was holding a different, undisclosed type of weapon.

Few details about what led to the altercation have been confirmed. The hospital said it could not share any further information.

"We want to reassure the public this incident has been contained, and that our campus continues to be safe and secure for patients, their families, and staff and visitors," a spokesperson said in a statement. "We are offering support to those involved."

Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of Battered Women's Support Services, told CTV News she’s been led to believe the patient was a new mother and vulnerable person, who may have been concerned about custody of her child. MacDougall said she has not yet been able to confirm that information.

She also questioned whether the situation couldn't have been resolved with de-escalation tactics.

"I've dealt with lots of really upset women, for all kinds of reasons, who may or may not have weapons," she said. "If you know what you're doing, you can de-escalate with words. You absolutely can."

MacDougall described the police use of beanbag rounds inside the hospital as "jarring,” and said her organization was working to connect the woman with legal aid.

Asked whether there was an attempt to de-escalate the situation before using force, Vancouver police said crisis negotiators were dispatched to the hospital, but that authorities believed there was an "imminent threat" to staff, patients and babies.

"When our officers arrived, they encountered the suspect. She still posed a risk to herself and others. Our officers were unable to get close enough to take custody of the woman using only hands-on physical force," Addison said.

Authorities said the suspect was arrested for assault, possession of a weapon and breach of probation.


Police initially said the incident unfolded at BC Children's Hospital, but have since confirmed it was at BC Women's Hospital. Top Stories

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