Google maps                                A man is facing several charges after pulling a firearm on an employee and customer at the Hilltop Esso gas station in Keremeos on Sunday morning.

Google maps A man is facing several charges after pulling a firearm on an employee and customer at the Hilltop Esso gas station in Keremeos on Sunday morning.

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

Life flashed before Rebecca Malek’s eyes when a man lifted a shotgun from his lap and pointed it at her and a customer at the Keremeos Esso early Sunday morning.

“I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun,” she told the Keremeos Review during an interview earlier this week.

“He lifts his shotgun off his lap and points it at us through his car window and ‘click.’ I just stand there. Trevor runs as soon as he hears the click; he runs behind the building.”

Despite the harrowing experience Malek keeps a sense of humour about it all as she says, “At least he didn’t push me as he ran away or use me as a human shield.”

Malek and the customer Trevor Milton Gilbert know each other well from the community.

Another employee came out of the store and was on the phone with police as the man drove away with the gun still pointed out the window as he stared at those outside.

The gun did not fire. It’s unknown at this time if the gun was loaded or it just didn’t go off.

The man arrested was a 52-year-old Olalla man who was involved in a police incident which caused Highway 3A to be closed for several hours about two weeks ago. At that time the man was taken under the Mental Health Act and treated in hospital for an unknown period of time.

Related: UPDATE: Olalla man taken into custody following police incident

Malek said the man was in the vicinity of the store three times on Sunday morning between 5:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. when he pulled the gun.

The first time he stopped on the roadway and yelled at a customer at the pumps.

“I was outside putting the fire extinguishers out. There was a guy getting gas. The guy stopped and was yelling at him, ‘if so and so doesn’t give me back my (expletive) he’s (expletive) dead.” she said.

A short time later the man comes into the gas station and says he needs coffee.

“When he didn’t pay for his coffee I realized he was the guy that threatened the other guy earlier. He says ‘it’s gonna be a long day,’ he’s ranting while he’s getting coffee and then he just leaves without paying.”

The final time she was inside the store with Gilbert while he was getting coffee before he went to work.

The two heard squealing tires from the gas pumps.

“I looked out and we saw him pushing Trevor’s car with his car. Trevor’s car was parked, no keys in it. He was just ramming it with his car. I tell the other worker to grab the phone and call the police and tell Trevor to grab his phone so we can videotape what he’s doing,” she said.

By the time the pair ran out of the door the man had rammed Gilbert’s car across the roadway and was continuing to push it as it hit a fence and came to a stop on a berm.

“He hears us talking and comes speeding up to us. We jumped behind the rail in front of Subway. That’s when he lifted the shotgun and we heard the click,” she said.

The man took off and headed towards Penticton where police caught up with him around 10 a.m.

“I felt better after I heard they got him and I was able to talk to the police,” Malek said.

Cpl. Brian Evans of the RCMP detachment said the man is facing five charges, four firearms related and one for dangerous driving. Police executed a search warrant on the man’s home in Olalla on Monday as well as his car, which was in custody in Penticton.

Evans said the same man was involved in a mental health incident on Nov. 28 where he barricaded himself in his home. The incident closed Highway 3A between Keremeos and Penticton for several hours. The man was taken in under the Mental Health Act and treated at hospital. Evans said police are not told how long people are kept in hospital when taken under the Mental Health Act nor are they notified when they are released.

He added on Nov. 28 the man was not charged as he hadn’t committed any criminal offences.

To report a typo, email:
editor@keremeosreview.com
.


@TaraBowieBC
editor@keremeosreview.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society communications officer Brianna van de Wijngaard reflects on World Water Day March 22. (Photo submitted)
DOWN TO EARTH: World Water Day means something different for everyone

This year’s World Water Day theme was Valuing Water

Williams Lake Cycling Club president Shawn Lewis (from left), Jeremy Stoward of New Path Forestry, WLCC Boitanio Bike Park director Andrew Hutchinson accept a cheque from Williams Lake and District Credit Union investment specialist Abigail King. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake Cycling Club gets bike park donation to bolster upgrades, maintenance

Plans are to complete three rideable lines each year, he added

Forestry Ink columnist Jim Hilton. (File photo)
FOREST INK: Credit, COVID and climate crises facing the world

Concerning COVID, Mr. Carney feels we have had the proper response by showing solidarity

Columnist David Zirnhelt’s grandsons practice some fun roping on his granddaughter at the family ranch. (David ZIrnhelt photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
RANCH MUSINGS: Roping, is that an essential skill for a ranch hand?

We all know someone who has had a digit reducing accident while roping

School District board members discuss business at a regular board meeting prior to the pandemic. (Angie Mindus/Williams Lake Tribune file photo)
Ministry of Education gives special shout out to School District 27 at start of Education Week

District board and administration recognized for creating outdoor learning spaces

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read