Vancouver – A Vancouver Police investigation has led to multiple charges after a resident of the Hastings Street encampment was threatened with a loaded gun Saturday morning.
“People without homes are already far more likely to become victims of violent crime than those who have stable housing, and those risks increase for people living in and around encampments,” says Sergeant Steve Addison. “This incident underscores the dangers facing vulnerable people – especially those living on the streets in the Downtown Eastside.”
VPD responded immediately early Saturday morning after a bystander called police to report an altercation between two men in the lane behind the Carnegie Centre, at Main and Hastings. The victim was not harmed.
The suspect fled, but was later arrested by VPD officers near Main and Keefer streets.
Luis Alfredo Gaitan-Tijerino, 33, has now been charged with the following criminal offences:
- Possession of a Weapon
- Uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm
- Using a firearm during the commission of an indictable offence
- Unauthorized possession of a loaded firearm
Between July 1 and August 31, there was a 45 per cent increase in serious assaults and assaults with weapons in the Downtown Eastside encampment zone, compared to the same time period last year. During that same time, there was a 61 per cent increase in weapons offences, compared to two months prior to the encampment.