A 42-year-old Chilliwack man is facing numerous charges after an allegedly violent assault of multiple people in or near the emergency department at Chilliwack General Hospital (CGH) on Tuesday (Feb. 8).
Christopher Allan Saunders, born 1979, is facing three counts of assault and one count of wilfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer in connection with the incident just before 9:30 a.m. that day.
Witness reports say a man walked in to the hospital attempting to visit his mother, but he refused to wear a mask.
“This man assaulted the screening person, then assaulted one of the housekeeping staff, who was just randomly passing by after picking something up at the indoor cafe,” a hospital employee posted on social media.
As many as eight RCMP officers descended on the scene where the man was arrested.
Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Krista Vrolyk said they were called at 9:26 a.m. about an assault in progress, and she confirmed Saunders was arrested at the scene.
Vrolyk could not confirm the seriousness of any injuries suffered by the victims, but she said he was allegedly punching “with closed fists.”
The hospital employee who posted on social media about the incident said the member of the housekeeping staff needed a CT scan but was well enough to drive herself home. The injury to the screening person or if there are other victims is uncertain at this point.
The attack comes as threats and violence directed towards health-care workers are on the rise in the province. Recently the BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) in Prince Rupert asked their MLA for support to help address the situation regarding threats against their members.
“By sharing stories and specific issues from their ridings, MLAs are hearing about the harsh reality faced by nurses and patients who reside and work in their constituency,” BCNU president Aman Grewal said in response to the Prince Rupert issue.
The Progress reached out to both BCNU and Fraser Health to comment on this specific incident at CGH and the broader issue of threats and violence towards health-care workers. See updates on this story as they become available.
Saunders appeared in Chilliwack provincial court in the afternoon on Feb. 8. He was released from custody and is due for a first appearance to face the charges on March 22.
Saunders does not have provincial court history in B.C. according to Court Services Online.
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