Two VicPD officers helped to stop a sexual assault in Hawaii this week. (Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS)

UPDATED: Man faces sexual assault charges in Hawaii after off-duty Victoria police officers stop assault

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak ‘very proud’ of officers

Victoria’s police chief says he’s “very proud” of two off-duty VicPD officers he says stopped a sexual assault while on vacation in Hawaii.

Chief Del Manak says Const. Hayley Swann and Const. Brent Keddell were out for a morning run on Dec. 31 in a park in Kona, on the Big Island, when they heard a woman screaming.

“As they get closer they hear a definite scream, they can tell it’s a cry for help,” Manak says. “They start running towards the woman.”

They found two women, one injured and in serious distress. Keddell noticed a man walking away and approached him.

The officers’ “instincts kicked in” – Keddell helping a witness speak with 911 dispatchers, while keeping his eyes on the suspect, and Swann, who works as a domestic violence investigator, helping to calm down the victims.

Police arrived and took Justin Michael Bardwell, 32, into custody. He was charged with open lewdness, fourth degree sexual assault and second-degree terroristic threatening and kidnapping. Before his arrest Bardwell was wanted by police in connection with the arson of a vacation rental home in Volcano.

READ ALSO: Drivers flee VicPD’s first impaired driving roadblocks of December

According to Black Press Media’s West Hawaii Today, the two women spoke at a preliminary hearing in Kona District Court on Tuesday. They both testified to coming across Bardwell masturbating on a public path.

When he spotted them he began to chase them, yelling “stop, obey me, I’m going to get you.”

The women said they ran but one of them fell down and Bardwell jumped on top of her, keeping her pinned to the ground. He threw rocks at her friend when she tried to help, eventually getting up and chasing her too. The women escaped him and made it to a group of people nearby who had heard their cries for help.

Keddell and Swan both gave evidence and will likely be called back for the trial, according to Manak. The police chief is extremely proud of how his team members responded, saying there were no two better officers to have been there in that moment.

“As a police chief I’m extremely proud of the actions these officers took, the fact they intervened, their level of professionalism and compassion,” he says. “They protected their own safety and prevented and stopped what was a really violent attack.”

“I’m really grateful they were there to help.”

READ ALSO: Drivers flee VicPD’s first impaired driving roadblocks of December



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Premier Horgan announces business plan approval for new hospital in Fort St. James

The new hospital in the district is aimed to be open to patients by 2024

Horgan cancels event in Fraser Lake due to security concerns, says mayor

The premier will still be visiting the district, but the location and day will not be made public

Pipeline at centre of B.C. conflict is creating jobs for First Nations: chief

All 20 elected band councils along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route have signed benefits agreements

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read