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Bear spray incident shuts down new Wascana Pool on opening day

Following a reported bear-spray incident, Regina’s Wascana Pool was shut down on the day of its much-anticipated reopening.

One pool patron told CTV News their eyes started to burn while they were swimming and they had to be washed out.

Regina Police Service (RPS) confirmed it was called to the scene Thursday afternoon following the incident.

Around 2:10 p.m., officers were called to the pool for a report of a weapons incident, according to a release from RPS. When they got there, they found upwards of 200 people who were suffering from the effects of bear spray.

Witnesses told police that a group of four or five teenage boys wearing balacklavas and other face coverings went into the facility and discharged the bear speay.

The RPS patrol unit, canine unit, and officers from the investigative services unit are invesitgating.

In an update sent to media later in the day, the City of Regina said police responded to an incident involving an altercation in a changerorom.

The pool will re-open on Friday, but increased security measures, including having security guards on site, will be implemented, the city said. 

A Facebook video posted by Janna Pratt shows the moments following the incident.

While recounting what happened, she said she and many others saw the incident at the pool.

Pratt later told CTV News she was at the pool opening with her son, and her daughter — who has special needs and in palliative care — as guests of the city to review accessibility.

“We had just finished changing in the change rooms, found a bench for my son and to park [my daughter],” Pratt explained in a message. “I had left them to find a lifeguard to help me with getting her into the pool.”

She said as they were in the storage area getting a water wheelchair available at the pool, a "boy who appeared to have been sprayed in the face darted behind her, towards his mom.

“He looked to be about 12-14 years old,” Pratt said.

"His mom raced him towards the showers, I was telling to my kids to back up, as I was across the pool from them, I did get traces of the mace in my eyes and throat but it didn't bother me at the time as I was worried about my kids' safety,” Pratt said.

When she found a way to get back to her kids without going through the bear spray mist hanging in the air, everyone tried to leave, Pratt said.

“We couldn't leave because the back gates were locked and we were forced to wait on the lawn area,” she said. “The exit gate was across from where we were but it wasn’t accessible, so we waited, as to get there you had to go through to cloud”

She said it took a while to reach an available exit gate, which she said was hard to get her daughter's wheelchair through.

“We had to get help to leave through that gate,” she said. “The group of kids that sprayed that crap, my son saw them.”

"We were looking forward to this all week, especially in this heat."

"It sprayed everywhere, all of the people cleared the pool.," she said in the video. Top Stories

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