Professional bullfighter Cody Call said there was “shock, confusion” and “initial panic” when the annual Williams Lake, BC stampede ended with a shooting that left two people injured on Sunday afternoon.
Thousands of people were evacuated from the arena on the final day of the Williams Lake Stampede, which was held for the first time since the pandemic.
The city’s RCMP said they have arrested one suspect in the daylight shooting, which they believe was “the target.”
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 located approximately 550 km northeast of Vancouver.
The shooting was “pretty wild, not something you would expect in small town BC,” Call said in a text message.
Call was one of three bullfighters to help protect runaway bull riders from livestock during an event, and when they heard of the shooting, they sprang into action to assist with the evacuation.
Those efforts — and the calm instructions from the event announcer — helped ensure no one was injured as they exited the stands, said Court Smith, president of the Williams Lake Stampede Association.
“Thousands of our customers have been safely evacuated,” Smith said in a post on the association’s Facebook page. “Our announcer did a fantastic job of getting people out of the facility.”
“We’re waiting for updates from the RCMP to see where it goes 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, began on June 30.