Police in Bridgewater, N.S., are warning residents in the south end to stay inside and lock their doors as they continue to search for a man accused of assaulting a woman and stabbing a police officer and a police dog.
They also asked some residents to evacuate their homes early Tuesday evening.
The Bridgewater Police Service says officers are pursuing the suspect in a wooded area between Highway 331 and Conquerall Mills road, south of Pine Street.
“We are asking the public to please avoid this area and residents in the area should stay indoors and lock doors at this time,” said police in a Facebook post.
The RCMP, Bridgewater and Halifax police K9 units, the Emergency Response Team, and a Department of Natural Resources helicopter are assisting Bridgewater police in the search for the suspect, identified as Tobias Charles Doucette.
They provided a similar update on Facebook at 5:20 p.m.
At 7:18 p.m. on Tuesday, the RCMP warned people about a heavy police presence in the Conquerall Mills Road area east of Fancy Lake and again reminded residents to stay inside with their doors locked.
Police also said they were assisting some people who were asked to evacuate their homes in the area.
2/3 RCMPNS Tobias Doucette may be armed with a knife. He is accused of stabbing a police officer, and has stabbed a police dog. When last seen last evening he was wearing black shorts, no shirt and no shoes @PoliceNews pic.twitter.com/2KlZ5jsBi8
— RCMP, Nova Scotia (@RCMPNS) July 21, 2020
Police launched the manhunt after officers responded to a domestic violence call at the Bridgewater Hotel on High Street around 11 p.m. Monday.
Police allege Doucette attacked the responding officers with an edged weapon, striking one officer in the neck.
He then fled the scene on foot. The weapon wasn’t recovered at the scene.
The police officer, who is a sergeant, sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery. No further information about his condition is available at this time.
The domestic violence victim had sustained minor injuries before police arrived. She was treated in hospital and has since been released.
Police say she is no longer at risk and is in a safe location.
Doucette is facing charges of attempted murder and assault. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Police set up a perimeter in the south end of Bridgewater Tuesday morning, after Doucette was spotted in the area.
“I think some of the lessons learned perhaps just as a province or as a country after Portapique, that more information is better and so just having that alert, that something’s not right in the community, and if you see something not right, please contact the police,” said Mayor David Mitchell. “I think that was a good decision.”
“I think it’s the best thing you can do, to have something early, that people can really get prepared for what’s coming up. Not like what happened in Portapique, where they kept on and they didn’t realize,” said resident Frank d’Entremont. “Somebody got right on the ball, because people can get prepared right away.”
Police weren’t certain of the suspect’s whereabouts for much of the day. As the manhunt stretched into the afternoon, residents saw a flurry of police activity in the area.
“This morning, they came in and asked if they could search the trailer and the property. I told them I already searched it but I told them by all means, double check,” said Shawn Redding.
“All I heard was just all these lights and sirens there, just coming back from the gym there and just seeing all this craziness happening,” said Greg Croft.
Mitchell says the community is holding up well, given the circumstances.
“Of course, everyone’s on a bit of a heightened alert. It’s an ongoing and active situation, so there’s a lot of unknowns,” said the mayor. “But knowing that we’ve got our full police resources and the RCMP both on the ground in our community, there’s some confidence there.”
Doucette is in his early 30s. Police describe him as an Indigenous man with brown hair and green eyes. He is six-foot-two inches tall and weighs 220 pounds.
He was last seen wearing black shorts. He was not wearing a shirt or shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bridgewater Police Services.