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Tragedy at Bridge River Indian Band in B.C. as Hammer-Wielding Youth Attacks

A hammer attack at the Bridge River Indian Band offices in British Columbia left 11 people injured and the suspect dead.
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The troubled youth barged into the offices of Xwisten (Bridge River) Indian band, swinging a hammer. By the time it was over the lethal blows had injured 11 people, and the 22-year-old suspect was dead.

Four band staff members were still in the hospital, two in critical condition, as of Friday night October 16. Seven other injured people had been treated and released.

The assailant, who was identified by the B.C. Coroners Service as David Allan Patrick James, of Lillooet, died as he was being taken into custody, according to reports. Band officials said that James had been troubled and was facing an eviction.

“On Wednesday October 14, the Bridge River Indian band (Xwisten) experienced a tragic event, in which a young man from our community attacked a number of our office staff, leaving two persons in serious condition; two persons in critical condition, the assailant dead, and the community traumatized and searching for answers,” the band said in a statement on October 16.

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"Our band office staff had been working with this young man to develop a realistic plan for stable housing, and a way for him to pay his rent,” Chief Susan James said in the band's statement. “He had complex social and health needs that our staff did not have the resources or training to adequately respond to. And when the situation became overwhelming for him, he lashed out."

About 140 of the 440 total registered band members live on one of three reserves, according to The Globe and Mail.

Interior Health is offering trauma counseling to the attack victims, James told The Globe and Mail. She also said the band would reopen its currently shuttered office, the adjoining health clinic and its day care center next week.

"Our attention now will be on the healing work we need to do,” James said. “This tragedy has put our community into shock."