A group of campers that included Maple Ridge men are being investigated by RCMP after a confrontation over campsites on Harrison Lake that resulted in alleged death threats.
Samantha Ruttan of Chilliwack made a post about her ordeal in social media, including on the Facebook page Your Maple Ridge Central Neighbours.
She was going to camp in a remote area on the west shore of Harrison Lake, with her boyfriend and a friend. She said there were six people taking up five campsites, and when Ruttan’s party drove in, the group swore at them and told them to leave. They had a truck blocking access to empty sites.
Another family, with a nine-year-old, who were not part of the group, were packing up and leaving, saying they had been “kicked out.”
“I couldn’t believe these guys were using threats and intimidation to reserve a camping spot so they wouldn’t have neighbours. They had ample room where they were,” Ruttan wrote.
As she spoke to the departing family, one of the men, who is from Maple Ridge, allegedly came an inch from her face and screamed and swore at her. He threatened to shoot guns in their direction, slash tires and blare music all night, she said.
As they went back to their vehicle, another man threatened to kill someone, she alleged.
Ruttan took photos of their licence plates, and at that point another man came to her party and apologized.
Kim and Shawn Helmer of Port Coquitlam have also been quoted in the media, saying they were at the site with their nine-year-old son when a woman from the same group of six told them, profanely, to get out of the campsite. She said the sites were reserved for friends who had not yet arrived.
The Agassiz RCMP has found no evidence of firearms.
Police are also investigating the social media posts related to the incident, and remind the public that while social media is important for sharing information, it can provide a platform to spread misinformation in hopes of humiliating or shaming others, which cause undue stress in the community and impact unintended victims who may be friends and family of those involved.
The Agassiz RCMP encourages the public to report any interactions such as this to the police first and to please leave the investigations to us, said UFVRD RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail.
With the images of the men shared in social media, the Ridge Meadows Bruins Rugby club said they are investigating two club members who were involved in the incident. An online statement from the club said one of the men tried to de-escalate the situation. The camping trip was not a club-related event.
(With files from Agassiz-Harrison Observer)
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