FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A month prior to the grand opening of the Pride exhibit at Peace Gallery North, an irate member of the public allegedly threatened to kill a gallery staff member.
A gallery staff member, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said a man walked into the gallery on April 14th while a couple of staff members were working on brochures and posters for another event.
Peace Gallery North had posters up in the gallery and the North Peace Cultural Centre about the open call for artists for the Pride in the Community exhibit during Pride Week. The man saw posters of the event and started yelling about how the gallery “should support the straight community.”
The staff member said they had had issues with this man before after he touched a piece of art.
The staff member asked him not to shout, but he continued and slapped a table, which is when they got scared.
They went to get a maintenance person to help. He then reportedly tried to physically move the maintenance person out of the way.
Another North Peace Cultural Centre staff member came and told the man to leave.
“He was losing it. He started shouting, and then he said he was going to kill me, and that’s when we called the cops,” they said.
The staff member said they had to keep the doors locked at the gallery for a few days after the incident.
“Police came, everyone knows, security measures were taken,” they explained.
The opening reception for the Pride in the Community exhibit was the first time security had to be hired at the gallery.
“We had two guards, and it went well. They knew what happened, and that guy, he cannot enter the premises,” they said.
Fort St. John RCMP confirmed they received a report from the cultural centre on April 14th at 11:53 a.m. Police have a photo of the man thanks to security in the building, and staff members at the cultural centre were told to call the RCMP if he enters the premises again.
The Pride in the Community exhibit can be viewed at Peace Gallery North until 5 p.m. on June 3rd.