A Keremeos man has been found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder for stabbing a police officer in the chest in April.
Following a two-day hearing in Penticton provincial court on Nov. 2 and 3, Floyd Raphael, 39, was deemed not responsible for a criminal charge of to wound, maim or disfiguring in relation to an April 4, incident in Keremeos.
Raphael doesn’t have a past criminal history.
The decision comes a day after a funeral was held for RCMP Const. Shaelyn Yang was stabbed to death on duty. The 31-year-old mental health and homeless outreach officer was attacked two weeks ago while she and a City of Burnaby employee attempted to issue an eviction notice to a man who had been living in a tent at a local park.
That man is said to also be suffering from mental health disorders but is currently criminally charged with murder.
However, in the Keremeos incident, which took place at 2 a.m. on April 4, an officer was called a disturbance after a woman reported a man outside of her residence screaming for help. The man was known to the woman and was said to be suffering from a mental health crisis, according to RCMP.
The officer arrived and was speaking with the complainant when the man in a mental health crisis arrived and made self-harming comments and then fled into the residence. The officer pursued, located the man, and began attempts to de-escalate the situation.
The man stabbed the officer in the chest, and despite being seriously injured the officer was able to gain control of the man and take him into custody. The officer drove himself, and the man to the local hospital where he was met by backup police.
The officer was treated for a serious, but non-life-threatening stab wound, and has since been released from hospital. He is being supported by the RCMP.
The suspect was initially brought to the Penticton RCMP where he was processed and then taken to the hospital under the Mental Health Act.
“It is important to me that the public understand the risks our officers take every day in dealing with all kinds of people, and the elevated risk that is associated in dealing with those who are suffering a mental health crisis,” said Penticton Supt. Brian Hunter at the time.
“In this case, the man is now receiving the help he so requires, and we will allow the court to determine how best we move forward. This could have been a very different result for both the officer and this man, had this officer not had the will to survive, and fight through injury to get himself and the accused to care.”