Alone and depressed and having failed at a suicide attempt a couple of weeks earlier, John Edmond Leblanc tried to get police in Chase to kill him by holing up in the RBC in Chase.
That was April 26, when Leblanc's actions led to a six-hour standoff with police before he surrendered, taunting officers to shoot him, before being taken down by a beanbag "bullet" and arrested.
On Friday, Leblanc pleaded guilty to charges of theft under $5,000, uttering threats, mischief and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Provincial court Justice Sheri Donegan agreed with submissions by Crown and defence that Leblanc should be given a conditional sentence. Details are still being worked out.
Information about Leblanc's 58-year-old life compelled all three to conclude the loner — who was born in Newfoundland and has drifted most of his life — doesn't need jail, he needs help.
"This is a sad story. His life is quite remarkable. He never got any breaks," said Crown counsel Stephen Lawhead.
Leblanc was three years old when his father abandoned the family. His stepfather was abusive, and he eventually ended up in a New Brunswick reform school notorious for sexual abuse.
His mother died giving birth to a half brother. His sister hanged herself in 1986. He has never married, has no children and has lived most of his life alone, he said.
"Since then, Mr. Leblanc is a loner and a drifter," said Lawhead.
Leblanc drifted his way across the country over the decades and had last been living in Sorrento for a couple of years.
His struggles with addictions — various drugs and alcohol — saw him put on methadone during the four months leading up to last April's incident.
Lawhead said Leblanc was getting his methadone — a prescription drug used to keep addicts off other substances — at the pharmacy in Sorrento but felt he was getting disapproving glares. So he began driving to a pharmacy in Chase for his methadone.
The Crown recounted what occurred on April 26. Leblanc went to People's Drug Mart for his methadone, then stopped in at a restaurant where he drank four or five pints of beer and ordered some appetizers. He told the staff he was waiting for his wife.
When the bill came, Leblanc said his wife was in an accident and he ran out without paying. He went to a corner store and tried to pay for cigarettes with a debit card, but the $11 transaction was declined.
He told the store clerk he would go to the bank across the street. He took the cigarettes with him.
Inside the Royal Bank, Leblanc, wearing a long dark-blue trench coat, sat at a customer service desk where he was approached by an employee.
"I'm going to blow this place up. End it all. Get everyone out of here. Call the police," Lawhead said Leblanc told her.
The woman noted he had a knife attached to his pants, a black handgun in his lap and a device with batteries and wires in his left hand.
Staff evacuated the bank, and people in some surrounding buildings were also cleared out. But the woman in the bank he spoke with told the Crown she never felt threatened and she declined to submit a victim impact statement to the court.
"She felt he was not there to harm anyone else," said Lawhead.
Leblanc sat and smoked inside the building as the swarm outside grew to include the RCMP's Southeast District response team, Vancouver explosive disposal unit, B.C. Ambulance Service, firefighters, Fortis B.C., B.C. Hydro and media.
"Downtown Chase was shut down for a number of hours," said Lawhead.
"Mr. Leblanc, while in the bank, slit his wrists, bleeding quite heavily."
After six hours, he came out of the bank. Lawhead said Leblanc was initially co-operative, then he began to taunt officers to shoot him.
When he was arrested, Leblanc was told he could call a lawyer. Lawhead said officers reported Leblanc said, "No, I don't want to call anyone. Everyone's dead, my whole family."
His handgun turned out to be a B.B. gun, and the bomb was just some batteries, elastics and wire — a fake.
Leblanc later told police, "A cry for help is all it was. Why didn't they just shoot me, save everybody a lot of time and bullshit?" Lawhead said, adding Leblanc said he'd "been alone his whole life."
Leblanc hasn't worked for three years, has never collected welfare, instead opting to sell drugs. He was last convicted more than 20 years ago, and he has never been violent. He has never had treatment for his addictions or abuse.
He even told the bank employee, "I couldn't hurt anyone, it's not my nature."
Lawhead said Leblanc has expressed remorse for his actions. A psychiatrist's report shows he has depression, anxiety, an adjustment disorder and a history of substance abuse and dependence.
He called for a conditional sentence of 12 to 18 months, with probation making up the difference to a three-year sentence.
Leblanc's lawyer Chris Thompson commended Lawhead for sticking with the file despite a busy schedule.
He had fewer kind words for the province, noting "the government has spent tons of money and takes credit for native offenders" and yet people like Leblanc are not getting help.
"The government does not care. He's as important as any native offender. His life is as precious as anyone's," said Thompson.
"He's probably the most meek and mild person I've ever met," he added.
"The sooner the government decides to do something about people with mental disabilities, the sooner we'll be better off."
Leblanc's sentencing will be continued on Sept. 10, by which time Thompson is hoping to have housing arranged for him.
"We'll take time to get you a suitable place to live and find people who can help you. I don't want to see you in jail for this," said Donegan.
Wiping away a few tears, Leblanc requested to be able to continue seeing the psychiatrist who evaluated him. She's already offered him a spot in a program.