The RCMP says a Ladysmith officer will be off the job for several days after being punched in the face while trying to make an arrest last week.

The incident happened November 13th. RCMP were called out around 2:30 in the afternoon to deal with a report that a man and woman were shoplifting from the Husky station in the 12-thousand 600 block of the Trans Canada Highway. It was the fourth complaint about the same couple in the space of two hours…

When officers got to the gas station they arrested the woman without trouble, but the man took off.

One officer ran after him. RCMP say as the officer was trying to make the arrest he was hit in the face and head. He had to have surgery at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Two officers who came to help suffered minor injuries.

The suspect now faces assault and other charges.

“This incident highlights the unpredictable nature of the work our officers do everyday in communities across Vancouver Island”, says Chief Superintendent Ray Bernoties, Commander of the RCMP on Vancouver Island. “I commend these officers for their perseverance in arresting this suspect, despite the obvious risk they faced.”