Manhunt in downtown Neepawa!



By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

What began as an attempted traffic stop, turned into an intense high-speed chase and manhunt in Neepawa over the long weekend. Initial reports to the Banner & Press suggest that the incident began about 10 kilometres east of Neepawa, on Highway 16, in the early afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 6.

Before it all started, patrolling RCMP officers in the area had been advised to keep an eye out for a suspect in an assault, as well as the victim, who may be travelling in a vehicle with the accused.

One officer encountered a vehicle with someone who matched the description of the suspect and attempted a traffic stop. When police tried to pull the vehicle over just east of Neepawa, the accused kept driving and triggered a high-speed pursuit. The chase then lead both vehicles into the community’s downtown area. There, the suspect was forced to flee from the vehicle, after driving over police spike strips, which had rendered it inoperable for use. 

In an incident witnessed by the Banner & Press, a woman was detained at the damaged vehicle, while the driver was not located at the scene. Over the next few hours, there was a police presence seen downtown, with eyewitnesses seeing an officer carrying a rifle at the corner of Main Street East and Mountain Avenue. 

The Banner & Press contacted the RCMP on Tuesday, Aug. 8 for an update on the situation. Sergeant Dave Taggart of the Spruce Plains RCMP provided details and confirmed that 45-year-old Robert Johnson of Ontario is now in custody and that there's no threat to the public. Johnson was arrested in Brandon on Monday, Aug. 7

Johnson has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, flight from police, forcible confinement and driving while prohibited. 

The woman, who was arrested at the scene, has been released and is facing no charges. Taggart added that a K-9 unit was used to patrol the area during the search and that nearby homeowners and church goers were warned to lock themselves inside during the search to ensure their safety.

He also clarified that the male subject was not armed that rumours that the Neepawa Hospital went into lockdown due to the incident are not true.