A lonely and depressed Shuswap man who held up a bank in Chase and kept police at bay for six hours received a 12-month conditional sentence Thursday.
John Leblanc, 58, has been in jail since he was arrested April 26.
He walked into a bank on Chase’s main street, telling an employee "I'm going to blow this place up. End it all. Get everyone out of here. Call the police,” according to prosecutor Stephen Lawhead.
Staff evacuated the bank. People in surrounding buildings were also cleared out.
Leblanc taunted RCMP to shoot him. He was eventually arrested around midnight after being shot by police with a beanbag gun, which stunned him but otherwise left him unharmed.
He will serve his conditional sentence at John Howard Society’s Lighthouse building in Kamloops. He will also serve two years probation following the conditional sentence.
Leblanc pleaded guilty to theft under $5,000, uttering threats, mischief and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. Earlier in the day he’d eaten at a restaurant and taken cigarettes without paying.
During sentencing submissions last month, court heard Leblanc had drifted his way across the country over the decades and had been living in Sorrento for several years. He struggles with alcohol and drug addictions.
Lawhead described Leblanc as a loner who was profoundly affected by sexual abuse as a child, as well as tragic deaths of family members. He never married and has no children.
Defence lawyer Chris Thompson went to lengths to ensure there is housing and social assistance set up for Leblanc upon his release Thursday.
Judge Sheri Donegan commended Thompson, telling Leblanc his lawyer is “someone who put a lot of resources into helping you in the community.”