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

UPDATED: Off-duty Victoria police officers stop alleged sexual assault while on vacation in Hawaii

Man charged with lewdness, sexual assault, threatening and kidnapping

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.”



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

Victoria council recommends prioritizing housing for people in the area for at least a year

The motion passed unanimously during committee of the whole meeting

Sooke Bluffs staircase closed due to rot

District to consider replacement for ‘high risk’ staircase in fall

VicPD uses ‘less-lethal’ rounds to remove woman barricaded in stranger’s basement

The woman is believed to have broken into a dealership, attempting to steal a vehicle earlier in the evening

Vancouver Island MLA says too much on shoulders of RCMP

Reformed Police Act could look at spreading responsibility to other responders

Greater Victoria non-profit advocates for the use of psilocybin for terminal patients

North Saanich psychotherapist pushes for alternative treatment

STANDING TALL: Forestry workers meet the challenges, remain hopeful

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Parkinson SuperWalk goes virtual throughout B.C. due to COVID-19

People encouraged to walk around their neighbourhood, along community trails, through parks, forests

Missed rent payments ‘cause of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due.

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Bamfield residents, visitors pressure province as anniversary of fatal crash approaches

Letter-writing campaign makes ‘heartfelt, emotional pleas’ to improve road conditions

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Most Read