A man is in hospital after a shooting near Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
According to police, patrol officers in the area heard a gunshot just before 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
The officers found a 31-year-old man with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound near Powell Street and Jackson Avenue, police said.
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The victim was taken to hospital and is in stable condition, police said.
Sgt. Jason Robillard said Vancouver police are increasingly concerned about safety at the park, which is home to a growing homeless encampment.
“There has been a sharp increase in the level of violence in and around the encampment at Oppenheimer Park in recent months,” he said.
“Police are responding to several 911 calls in the park every day and we are very concerned about the safety of the people staying there, our officers, firefighters, and City of Vancouver staff.”
According to police, there were 179 emergency calls in Oppenheimer Park in May and June. Police say they received 112 calls during the same two-month period last year.
“We want people in the park to be safe and currently, the environment there is not safe, even for our officers,” Robillard said. “On Wednesday, a police officer was assaulted as she tried to assist City crews working to keep the park clean.”
Police said no arrests have been made in connection with Wednesday’s shooting and the investigation has been turned over to Vancouver Police Department’s major crime section.
In a statement, the City of Vancouver said it recognizes the challenges the campers face, but is concerned about the camp itself due to a “history of serious health and safety incidents often associated with .”
The city also pointed to an ongoing fire chief’s order that sets out a number of fire and safety requirements.
“However, we are growing increasingly worried as we continue to see non-compliance with the Fire Chief’s order and other concerning life-safety incidents,” the statement continues.
The city said it is working with the Vancouver Park Board and BC Housing to connect campers with services and housing.
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