Mentally ill group home resident charged in Juniper Market hold-up

A 22-year-old resident of a staffed group home has been charged with robbery and mischief under $5,000 after holding up the Juniper Market on April 18.

Derek Wiebe-Rosch, who has a history of mental illness, was living in Juniper Ridge under the supervision of a Community Living B.C. service provider that morning when he allegedly entered the market holding a glass object and threatening that he had a bomb.

He allegedly "ripped apart a few things" before retrieving less than $1,000 in cash, said business owner Cheralyn Leggett.

He then ran towards the nearby Bike Ranch and when police tracked him down, threatened to injure himself before cutting his neck with glass resulting in a superficial wound.

Wiebe-Rosch, who has a history with police, was detained at Royal Inland Hospital then transported to a psychiatric facility where he is still being held.

His first court appearance is scheduled for April 30.

How Wiebe-Rosch allegedly came to be unattended and away from his Skeena Drive group home that day is unclear.

Community Living B.C. contracts Wiebe-Rosch's supervision to Denton Delaney of Dengarry Professional Services, which took over the home a handful of weeks before the incident.

Community Living B.C. communications officer Doug McClelland said he advised Delaney not to comment since only communications staff is authorized to handle media inquiries.

He said the organization continues to investigate the incident.

Statistics on violent incidents among Community Living B.C. clients are "not readily available," but they are rare, said McClelland.

"I can tell you I've been here going on a year and this is certainly the most serious and most unfortunate incident I've heard of provincewide where not only was the individual who was receiving CLBC services injured and affected but others in the community were as well."

There are 31 such staffed facilities in residential areas throughout Kamloops with the number of clients ranging from one to four per household, according to McClelland.

Consulting neighbours before opening a facility is not necessary if the zoning is appropriate, as is the case on Skeena Drive. Community Living relies largely on service providers to reach out, said McClelland.

"We count on (service providers) because they are local to be part of the community and maintain positive relations with neighbours."

The level of care ranges from a daily staff drop-in to a staff member remaining by a client's side 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Security protocols are largely left up to the service provider, said McClelland. However Community Living's top mandate is ensuring the health, safety and well being of clients, caregivers and the community, he said.

"All service providers would have the capacity to provide emergency support in a situation like this where someone either wandered off or began acting out.

"From the kinds of other incidents reports I have read I don't think a minute would pass without somebody beginning to take action."

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