Shooting in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park sends man to hospital
Vancouver police are worried about the safety of people living in Oppenheimer Park after a man was taken to hospital following a shooting near the park Wednesday night.
Vancouver police say shortly before 10:30 p.m., officers heard what they believed to be a gunshot near Oppenheimer Park, and went to investigate.
Officers found a 31-year-old Vancouver man near the intersection of Powell Street and Jackson Avenue with a gunshot wound. The injury was not life-threatening.
VPD spokesman Sgt. Jason Robillard says the injured man remains in hospital and is listed in stable condition.
Police believe the shooter fled on foot through the park. No arrests have been made.
Robillard says violence in the park, located between Powell and Cordova streets in the Downtown Eastside, has been escalating in recent weeks.
“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.”
Robillard said police responded to 92 emergency calls to the park last month and another 87 in May. That’s up significantly from 2018 when there were 56 calls for service in June and 56 calls in May.
Oppenheimer Park is home to an unusually high number of people are living in tents.
Earlier this month, the Powell Street Festival, which has been held in the park every August long weekend for the past four decades, decided to move this year’s festivities away from Oppenheimer Park to avoid displacing thr homeless population.
“We want people in the park to be safe and currently, the environment there is not safe, even for our officers,” adds Robillard. “On Wednesday, a police officer was assaulted as she tried to assist city crews working to keep the park clean.”
With files from Scott Brown