Oppenheimer Park on July 11, 2019. (Sarah Common/Twitter)

Officer assault, shooting at Downtown Eastside park spark concerns by police

There were 92 emergency calls for police response to the park in June, compared to 56 in 2019

Police are warning the public to avoid Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park, where a large encampment has erected in recent months leading to increased safety risks.

On Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m., police officers were on patrol in the Downtown Eastside when they heard gunshots near the park, police said in a news release Thursday. A 31-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound near Powell Street and Jackson Avenue, and remains in stable condition.

Police said it was believed the suspect fled on foot through Oppenheimer Park, and officers later cleared the park in order to investigate. No arrests have been made at this time.

This isn’t the first incident to occur at the park as the tent city continues to grow, Sgt. Jason Robillard said during a news conference Thursday. Police issued a warning public to avoid the area when possible.

“I would not recommend anyone bringing their children through Oppenheimer Park right now,” he said.

Earlier this week, a police officer was kicked in the knee at least three times as she tried to remove a man that had jumped onto a garbage truck while city crews were cleaning up the park.

“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,” Robillard said, adding that in at least one case VPD officers expressed concern that they didn’t feel comfortable attending the park in groups of less than four members.

There were 92 emergency calls for police response to the park in June, and 87 in May, according to police. Last year, there were 56 calls each of those months.

READ MORE: Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

It’s not unusual for the odd tent to be raised during the evening at the park and it’s unclear exactly when that number started to grow.

“The park’s quite crowded, there are some unsanitary conditions where officers noticed some rodents running around,” Robillard said.

Vancouver police have brought concerns to the city and Robillard said that they are working with staff on a daily basis.

Anyone who may have witnessed the shooting on Wednesday night, or who has information that may help police, is asked to call the VPD’s Major Crime Section at 604-717-2541, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

This step here today is for us to highlight the conditions currently at the park, not only for our officers but for the people at the park,” Robillard said.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

‘We have to be mindful of judgment and labels we put on people’

TELUS Originals documentary, Skids, details lives of ‘bad’ or ‘broken’ teens at Langley high school

Canada continues to win at world indoor lacrosse championships in Langley

Read the results of the action on day 2 of the 2019 World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor World Championship

Giants win first game of regular season

Road trip off to a good start with Prince George victory

LETTER: Langley man questions Liberal’s green policy after fracking funding

The money could be better spend on green technology, he writes

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Surrey school district OKs students skipping class for global climate strike

Students must be excused from school by parents; will be able to make up missed work without penalty

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Most Read