Walmart parking dispute in Nanaimo erupts into violence

Vancouver Island police officers are investigating after a dispute in a Walmart parking lot erupted into violence in which a man and his four young children were bear sprayed by an unknown assailant.

Nanaimo RCMP say the argument over a parking space occurred at 12:45 p.m. Monday at the Walmart in the Woodgrove Center shopping center.

A family of six was reportedly trying to park their truck and boat trailer when they were cut off by a man in a dark-colored SUV, which police said resembled a Hummer.

The man’s wife told investigators that her husband got out of the truck to confront the other driver, who pulled out a can of bear spray and attacked the family.

“The man and his children, ranging in age from one to six, had been contaminated to some extent by bear spray,” said Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson Const. Gary O’Brien said in a statement Wednesday.

All victims were treated at the scene by paramedics, police said.

The husband responded to the attack by grabbing a tire iron from the truck and breaking a window of the truck, which fled south on Highway 19A, according to investigators.

The man who deployed the bear spray is described as a white man in his 60s, with gray hair and who was wearing a green shirt at the time.

“This was a situation where if cooler heads had prevailed, this dispute could have been resolved without resorting to this level of violence,” O’Brien added.

Anyone with information about the incident or the identity of the driver of the SUV is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

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