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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 exposure event at Garibaldi secondary in Maple Ridge

‘High level of anxiety’ among teachers after fourth exposure

Calum, Hunter, and Joel were all selected for scholarships with NCAA schools in the United States. (Special to THE NEWS)
Three Ridge Meadows Burrards earn U.S. lacrosse scholarships for 2021

Calum Munro, Hunter Meyer and Joel McCormick will take their talents down south

The Ridge Meadows Flames lost their season opener on Sunday night.
Flames open season with loss to Kodiaks

Maple Ridge Junior Bs name Garrett, Tyszka team captains

Maple Ridge Council turned down an application for a cannabis retail store on 225th Street. (Black Press files)
City turns down cannabis retail store on 225th

Maple Ridge councillors say applicant needs new location

.
ON COOKING: Chef offers a new take on pumpkin spice

Pumpkin puree can be used to make a salad dressing

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Langley resident Sean Nugent, who died in 2019 shortly he saved a swimmer from drowning, has been awarded a posthumous medal for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association (Courtesy Nugent family)
Langley man who died after saving swimmer receives posthumous medal for bravery

Sean Nugent rescued woman from Hayward Lake near Mission in July of 2019

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Most Read