Professional bullfighter Cody Call said there was “shock, confusion” and “panic at first” when the annual Williams Lake, BC stampede ended with a shooting that injured two people on Sunday afternoon .
Thousands of people were evacuated from the arena on the final day of Williams Lake Stampede, which was held for the first time since the pandemic.
The city’s RCMP said it has arrested a suspect in a daylight shooting that it believes is “targeted”.
Two people were taken to hospital with injuries following the incident around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Williams Lake RCMP said in a statement. Lake Williams is about 550 kilometers northeast of Vancouver.
The shooting was “quite wild, not what you would expect in a small BC town,” Call said in a text message.
Call was one of three bullfighters who helped protect trampled bull riders from cattle during an event, and upon hearing of the shooting, they jumped into action to help with the evacuation.
Court Smith, president of the Williams Lake Stampede Association, said those efforts – and calm instructions from the event’s announcer – helped ensure no one was injured when they left the stands.
“Thousands of our patrons were safely evacuated in a post on the association’s Facebook page,” Smith said. “Our announcer did a great job getting everyone off the premises.”
“We’re waiting for updates from the RCMP to see where things go from here,” Smith said.
The force said investigators suspect the shooting was “targeted” and do not believe there is any additional risk to members of the public.
“Preliminary information indicates this incident was targeted,” the RCMP said in the statement.
The four-day stampede, on the 800 block of Mackenzie Avenue South, began on June 30.