Google maps                                A man is facing several charges after pulling a firearm on an employee and customer at the Hilltop Esso gas station in Keremeos on Sunday morning.

Google maps A man is facing several charges after pulling a firearm on an employee and customer at the Hilltop Esso gas station in Keremeos on Sunday morning.

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

Life flashed before Rebecca Malek’s eyes when a man lifted a shotgun from his lap and pointed it at her and a customer at the Keremeos Esso early Sunday morning.

“I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun,” she told the Keremeos Review during an interview earlier this week.

“He lifts his shotgun off his lap and points it at us through his car window and ‘click.’ I just stand there. Trevor runs as soon as he hears the click; he runs behind the building.”

Despite the harrowing experience Malek keeps a sense of humour about it all as she says, “At least he didn’t push me as he ran away or use me as a human shield.”

Malek and the customer Trevor Milton Gilbert know each other well from the community.

Another employee came out of the store and was on the phone with police as the man drove away with the gun still pointed out the window as he stared at those outside.

The gun did not fire. It’s unknown at this time if the gun was loaded or it just didn’t go off.

The man arrested was a 52-year-old Olalla man who was involved in a police incident which caused Highway 3A to be closed for several hours about two weeks ago. At that time the man was taken under the Mental Health Act and treated in hospital for an unknown period of time.

Related: UPDATE: Olalla man taken into custody following police incident

Malek said the man was in the vicinity of the store three times on Sunday morning between 5:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. when he pulled the gun.

The first time he stopped on the roadway and yelled at a customer at the pumps.

“I was outside putting the fire extinguishers out. There was a guy getting gas. The guy stopped and was yelling at him, ‘if so and so doesn’t give me back my (expletive) he’s (expletive) dead.” she said.

A short time later the man comes into the gas station and says he needs coffee.

“When he didn’t pay for his coffee I realized he was the guy that threatened the other guy earlier. He says ‘it’s gonna be a long day,’ he’s ranting while he’s getting coffee and then he just leaves without paying.”

The final time she was inside the store with Gilbert while he was getting coffee before he went to work.

The two heard squealing tires from the gas pumps.

“I looked out and we saw him pushing Trevor’s car with his car. Trevor’s car was parked, no keys in it. He was just ramming it with his car. I tell the other worker to grab the phone and call the police and tell Trevor to grab his phone so we can videotape what he’s doing,” she said.

By the time the pair ran out of the door the man had rammed Gilbert’s car across the roadway and was continuing to push it as it hit a fence and came to a stop on a berm.

“He hears us talking and comes speeding up to us. We jumped behind the rail in front of Subway. That’s when he lifted the shotgun and we heard the click,” she said.

The man took off and headed towards Penticton where police caught up with him around 10 a.m.

“I felt better after I heard they got him and I was able to talk to the police,” Malek said.

Cpl. Brian Evans of the RCMP detachment said the man is facing five charges, four firearms related and one for dangerous driving. Police executed a search warrant on the man’s home in Olalla on Monday as well as his car, which was in custody in Penticton.

Evans said the same man was involved in a mental health incident on Nov. 28 where he barricaded himself in his home. The incident closed Highway 3A between Keremeos and Penticton for several hours. The man was taken in under the Mental Health Act and treated at hospital. Evans said police are not told how long people are kept in hospital when taken under the Mental Health Act nor are they notified when they are released.

He added on Nov. 28 the man was not charged as he hadn’t committed any criminal offences.

To report a typo, email:
editor@keremeosreview.com
.


@TaraBowieBC
editor@keremeosreview.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Mayor Darryl Walker gives a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell at the inaugural meeting of the current White Rock council in 2018. (Alex Browne photo)
White Rock council under fire for inaugural prayer

BC Humanist Association charges city violated Supreme Court ruling two years ago

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld is taking heat over using a ableist slur to refer to three Black Press employees. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)
BC School Trustees Association president keeps heat on Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld

In a news release, Stephanie Higginson called on voters to take careful note of Neufeld’s behaviour

Most Read