Professional bullfighter Cody Call said there was “shock, confusion” and “at first panic” as Williams Lake, B.C.’s annual stampede ended with a shooting that wounded two people on Sunday afternoon.
Thousands of people were evacuated from the arena on the final day of the Williams Lake Stampede, which had been held for the first time since the pandemic began.
The city’s RCMP said they arrested one suspect in the daylight shooting they believe was “targeted.”
Two people were taken to hospital with injuries after the incident around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Williams Lake RCMP said in a statement. Williams Lake is about 550 km northeast of Vancouver.
The shooting was “pretty wild, not something you expect in small-town B.C.,” Call said in a text message.
Call was one of three bullfighters helping protect stampede bull-riders from cattle during an event, and when they heard of the shooting they jumped into action to help with the evacuation.
Those efforts — and the calm instructions from the event’s announcer — helped ensure no one was hurt as they left the stands, said Court Smith, president of the Williams Lake Stampede Association.
“Thousands of our patrons were evacuated safely,” Smith said, in a post on the association’s Facebook page. “Our announcer did a fantastic job of having people exit the facility.”
“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 further risk to members of the public.
“Preliminary information suggests that this incident was targeted,” the RCMP said in the statement.
The four-day stampede, on the 800 block of Mackenzie Avenue South, started on June 30.