Man arrested after brandishing meat cleavers during standoff in Richmond grocery store

Feb 19 2020, 3:25 pm

A man who barricaded himself inside a Richmond Walmart on Tuesday evening was arrested and is now facing charges in connection with the incident, police said on Wednesday.

According to police, officers responded to the store – located near the 9000 block of Alderbridge Way – just before 4 pm for reports of an “armed and distressed man.”

Upon their arrival police found the man “brandishing two meat cleavers and refusing to surrender.”

As part of their response, police evacuated the immediate area and closed nearby roads, before an RCMP Crisis Negotiator, the LMD Emergency Response Team (ERT), and Police Dog Services Unit (PDS) were called upon to assist.

“After a prolonged stalemate, the man surrendered to police and was taken into custody around 5:30 pm,” police said.  “No injuries were reported.”

Now, police said 31-year-old Richmond resident John Bennet Lam is facing three charges in connection with the incident.

The charges include:

  • one count of threatening with a weapon;
  • one count of possession of a weapon;
  • one count of causing a disturbance.

Lam is known to police.

“Though we train extensively, this situation was unique and highly dangerous,” said Richmond RCMP Cpl. Dennis Hwang. “We are fortunate to have our own Crisis Negotiator at Richmond Detachment who was able to open lines of dialogue with the distraught man. To achieve a peaceful outcome is our ultimate goal but incredibly difficult to achieve.”

In light of videos and photos of the incident that were captured by the public and shared online, Hwang said police also urge the public to leave dangerous areas immediately when directed.

“We cannot stress this point enough,” he said. “We are putting ourselves in harm’s way to safeguard you. Don’t linger and become a potential victim or casualty.”

Lacking the foresight to do so “by staying in a dangerous area or hot zone out of sheer curiosity, or for sake of capturing a video, this is not acceptable in any way, shape, or form,” he added.