Civilians and police received congratulations for their bravery

A Houston resident and two RCMP officers received bravery commendations for their actions in the face of an armed suspect while surrounded by fire.

The incident took place on July 9, 2019 when Cst. Ryan Creasey and Cst. Steve Bruce responded to a call that a man armed with a knife had broken into a woman’s home and was threatening her.

But when officers arrived, the man left the house and rushed to a nearby shack, after which there was an explosion in the shack.

The suspect then fled the cabin and after a physical confrontation with the two officers attempted to return to the cabin, which was now completely on fire. He was eventually subdued.

It was then that the two officers realized that they and the suspect were trapped between the burning cabin and nearby thick brush that had caught fire. Heavy smoke blanketed the area.

It was then that local resident Bryer Rutter passed by, first stopping to see what was going on, then noticing the two constables and the suspect.

“Mr. Rutter …. came to the aid of the members and was able to find safe passage through the fire by calling and guiding to safety. If Mr. Rutter had not stopped to assist the members and the suspect, they could have been seriously injured,” read the official citation presented to him.

“Mr. Rutter showed courage by putting himself in danger, risking his own safety and coming to the aid of Constables Creasey and Bruce. His actions bring him credit and are in keeping with the highest traditions of a Canadian citizen,” continues the commendation.

Similar wording appeared on the commendations presented to Constables Creasey and Bruce, each noting that their actions were in the highest tradition of the RCMP.

The commendations came on the signature of RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, the commanding officer for RCMP E Division, which covers all of British Columbia. She has since retired.

Sergeant Mark Smaill, the Houston RCMP Detachment Commander, said the commendations were approved some time ago, but COVID circumstances have delayed their formal presentations until now.

“It was quite an honor to present the commendation to Mr. Rutter,” Smaill said, adding that it took on special significance because he had known him for years.

“He put himself in danger. Otherwise, the result could have been very different.

Smaill said this was the first time he had the opportunity to present a commendation on behalf of the E Division commander.

“There are a lot of things that go into a commendation,” he added. “The information needs to be verified.”

Constable Bruce is still in Houston for a local presentation and Constable Creasey received his commendation on his new posting to southeastern British Columbia.

Marco Reutelsterz faced ten counts related to the incident, eventually pleading guilty to three three – assault, attempting to disarm a police officer and mischief. He was sentenced to six months house arrest.

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