Residents of Hedley are pulling together after a shooting at an alleged drug house last week.
TJ Bratt, who owns the village’s general store, is circulating a petition to bring attention to the problems faced by the small community.
“All it really says is that we would like to see the drug activity eradicated,” she said in an interview with The Spotlight.
In just a few days 120 people – about half of Hedley’s population – had signed the document.
The petition will eventually be forwarded to municipal, provincial, and federal government offices, along with the RCMP. However Bratt said there is a deeper purpose to her efforts.
“It’s more of a contact list. We are compiling names,” she said. “It’s about the community coming together to solve a serious problem that has been here for 17 years.”
Bratt said interested residents will work together to find a peaceful way to close down the alleged drug house.
“I’ve been doing a lot of research. It’s really difficult to get them out.”
Shots broke the silence in Hedley in the early hours of October 25.
A local 35-year-old man, was arrested by police later in the day. He was released under conditions, with a promise to appear in court, according to RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes, Princeton detachment commander.
Police received a 911 call at 2:04 a.m.
Princeton, Keremeos and Penticton RCMP all responded to the call.
The shots were aimed at a residence, from outside, however it was not a drive-by shooting as some people suggested, said Hughes.
The attack was targeted, he said.
“The house is known to police and we’ve had complaints in the past.”
There were four occupants in the home, including one child, when the shooting occurred. No one was injured.
Hughes said that with a suspect identified and facing charges, and given the attack was targeted, the risk to the community at this time is low. However he was quick to not minimize the incident.
“When there are bullets flying around a residential neighborhood the risk is obviously pretty high.”
Members of the community have identified the targeted property as a “drug house,” although Hughes could not confirm that characterization.
Bratt said she understands that police are limited in their abilities to act on complaints without evidence. “I know their hands are tied.”
She wants to work with local RCMP to find a solution.
“The residual of all this is that we have addicts in this town. They are a shadow of the people they were.”
Drug sellers and runners “are dragging the community down for their addiction.”
Tim Roberts, Area G director for the regional district, said he is aware of the issue and even before the shooting was in touch with RCMP to discuss the situation.
“It’s a very frustrating situation. Everyone from the constabulary to the citizens are frustrated. We just want to find a solution.”
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