OPP investigating attempted murder of officers during arrest of Manitoba man near Belleville, Ont.
WINNIPEG -- An R.M. of St. Clements man arrested Friday in Ontario on a Canada-wide warrant is expected in a Manitoba court later this week on firearms-related charges.
Eric Wildman, 34, was wanted by RCMP in connection with the investigation into the homicide of his neighbour Clifford Joseph.
While he has not been charged in that case, police in Ontario announced they are investigating the attempted murder of officers during Wildman’s arrest.
It was on Massassauga Road in picturesque Prince Edward County in Ontario, where the search for Wildman ended with shots fired from inside a home after tips from the public led officers to the residence.
A resident of the area, located just outside Belleville, who spoke to CTV News but asked not to be identified said they were awoken by police at their door around 3 a.m. Friday and advised to turn off their lights and take cover in their basement.
Police said when they executed a warrant to enter the home where Wildman was believed to be located, a standoff ensued.
“Upon entry to the residence officers were met with gunfire from within the residence,” Det. Insp Brad Collins of the OPP’s criminal investigation branch said in a video posted to Twitter.
The OPP said just after 6 a.m., two men exited the home. One man was questioned and released. Wildman was taken into custody and transported back to Manitoba.
The investigation into the shots fired from the home is being handled by the OPP.
“The OPP criminal investigation branch under the direction of the major case manager, myself, are now investigating the attempted murder on OPP officers,” Collins said.
The RCMP said the man who exited the home with Wildman in Ontario has been identified but his name hasn’t been released and neither has his exact relationship with Wildman.
Investigators previously described the person as “an associate” of Wildman’s and said the indication is Wildman was specifically headed to the home where he was taken into custody.
Wildman has been charged in Manitoba with unsafe storage of a firearm and possession of a prohibited device after police found guns and police-related clothing and equipment in his vehicle in Winnipeg.
He has also been charged with two counts of failing to report the destruction of a prohibited firearm in relation to a search of his property south of Stead, Man.
The charges against Wildman were briefly addressed in Manitoba provincial court Monday. The matter has been adjourned until Wednesday morning.
Wildman had been the focus of a weeklong search in Manitoba. The vehicle he was believed to be driving was last spotted heading towards the Whiteshell and the Manitoba/Ontario border Wednesday night before his arrest 2,000 kilometres away early Friday.
The RCMP said he remains a suspect in the disappearance of Joseph but Joseph is still missing and Wildman hasn’t been charged in the case.
“I can tell you we’re still investigating it,” Supt. Michael Koppang, officer in charge of Manitoba Major Crime Services, said on Friday. “We’re investigating it like a homicide. I’m not going to be able to get into any of the specific information.”