N.L. premier target of man arrested with knives outside election office: campaign

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DEER LAKE, N.L. — Police in Newfoundland and Labrador said they arrested a man with a "large quantity" of knives in a parking lot outside an election candidate's office Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said his campaign has been advised he was likely the intended target.

"The police investigation is ongoing, but from what we know so far we’d like to thank the members of the public who stepped in to do what they could to prevent an unimaginable outcome, and all police officers who ensured the safety of the public," Furey spokeswoman Meghan McCabe said in a release Tuesday evening.

"This is a traumatic incident, for everyone working and volunteering in Newfoundland and Labrador’s election."

In a news release, RCMP said they were notified Tuesday morning about a man behaving strangely, talking about guns and saying he was going to Deer Lake in western Newfoundland to stop the provincial election, which is set for Feb. 13. Deer Lake is in the Humber-Gros Morne electoral district, where Furey is running, though McCabe confirmed he was not there at the time of the incident.

Police said they found the man driving a truck just outside of Deer Lake and tried unsuccessfully to flag him down. A high-speed chase ensued as the man drove through the town and finally stopped in a parking lot at a local business, in which a provincial election candidate maintains an office, police said.

"The man was removed from the vehicle and was arrested in the parking lot. Officers located and seized a large quantity of various knives inside the vehicle," RCMP said in the release. "The truck was seized and impounded."

The release did not name the candidate but McCabe said in a statement that Furey's campaign was told he was likely the target. "Our team is connecting with the leadership of the other political parties and connecting with our team members on the ground in Deer Lake to offer support," she said.

She said Furey would release another statement as more details become available.

Police said there is no longer a concern for public safety and that they anticipate the man will be charged with "a number of criminal and traffic offences." The investigation is ongoing, they said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press