A man facing charges of first-degree murder is back behind bars after escaping custody last month.
Braidy Vermette escaped from custody on March 30 as two corrections officers were escorting him to the Victoria Union Hospital from the Prince Albert Correctional Centre. Two masked men ambushed the officers with bear spray and took Vermette into a vehicle.
On Wednesday, Prince Albert police said Vermette was believed to be with his girlfriend, Tristen Smith, who was wanted by PAPS for breaking her court conditions.
By 4:30 p.m. that day, police learned Vermette was believed to be at a home in the RM of Buckland – within the jurisdiction of the Prince Albert RCMP.
An emergency response team was sent to the home and found both Vermette and Smith were inside.
Shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday, the couple were taken into custody as they left the house, which had caught fire.
The home was all but burned to ground.
Buckland Fire and Rescue responded to the blaze early Thursday morning and worked to save the residence, but RCMP expect the house to be a total loss.
Neighbour Barret Laird said he woke up before 1 a.m. to people yelling and dogs barking. He saw an armoured police vehicle blocking the road and a SWAT team fanned across the residence’s front yard.
“(The police) kept on yelling, ‘Get out of the house, get out of the house,’ and then the windows broke and the flames were shooting 20 to 30 feet into the air,” said Laird.
He remembers two names being called by police repeatedly and a woman being pulled from the home, then handcuffed.
“(Police) were trying to get (the residents) out of the house, but they just would not leave. Like, she was dragged out kicking and screaming while the house was engulfed in flames,” he said.
Police said no one was hurt.
Vermette is one of two men charged in the death of Troy Cecil Napope, a 23-year-old man who had been reported missing in June 2015.