In a rare move, the Williams Lake RCMP has issued a warning Saturday (Jan. 14) due to the increased threat to public safety associated with gang activity locally.
Police are warning against against any interactions with Lashway Merritt, 29, of Williams Lake. Police said information suggests that Merritt’s involvement in gang activity, and the violence associated with it, is posing a risk to the residents of Williams Lake.
“The Williams Lake RCMP is issuing a public warning and identifying him in order for family, friends, associates and the public to take measures to increase their own personal safety,” note police in a new release issued Saturday.
“Due to the threat to the public posed by this individual through their connection to criminal activity and high level of violence, police believe that anyone associated or in close proximity to him may be putting themselves at risk,”
Merritt was the target of a shooting at the Williams Lake Stampede last summer that resulted in him being wounded, along with an innocent bystander. Police believe that shooting was gang-related.
“The Williams Lake RCMP believe that this individual may still be at risk to gang-related violence. This not only poses a risk to the individual but also anyone who associates with him or anyone who is in proximity to him.”
Staff Sgt. Kris Clark, senior media relations officer with the BC RCMP communication services notes the Williams Lake RCMP is continuing their efforts to prevent gang-related violence through enforcement and suppression “to send a clear message that gang-related violence will not be tolerated in Williams Lake.”
The Williams Lake RCMP is asking the public to report any information about recent incidents of violence or suspicious activity to police by calling 9-1-1.