The Victoria Police Department is currently searching for a 38-year-old suspect after he assaulted a missing 15-year-old in a tent in Beacon Hill Park on Tuesday night.
According to police, officers responded to a call for assistance from BC Emergency Health Services paramedics and Victoria Fire Department firefighters at around 10 p.m. Authorities were on scene at Beacon Hill Park, near Douglas Street and Circle Drive, after responding to a medical call.
When medical responders first arrived on scene, they learned that a 15-year-old had been assaulted and choked in a tent, leading them to call VicPD.
When police arrived on the scene, they located paramedics — who were treating the victim for non-life-threatening but potentially life-altering injuries — and saw numerous campers standing close by and interfering with the victim’s medical treatment.
The suspect of the tent assault had already left the area by the time the police got there, according to a press release.
Police say that when frontline officers attempted to speak with the victim, “numerous people who are camping in the park began to intervene,” encouraging the 15-year-old victim to not speak with officers.
Police note that campers were also encouraging the victim to not go to hospital for medical treatment or leave the area.
According to VicPD, campers began confronting the on-scene officers and paramedics and continued to urge the 15-year-old victim to leave the area, “physically grabbing the victim and pulling them away,” reads a statement.
VicPD says that officers apprehended the interfering campers, under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, due to “significant concern” for the victim’s safety.
The police release, issued on Wednesday, suggests that a “struggle ensued” between campers, the 15-year-old and officers.
“One officer was bitten and another struck in the mouth with spit while the victim was carried to the ambulance and secured for transport to the hospital,” reads a statement from Victoria Police. “The victim was transported to hospital for treatment without further incident.”
An investigation was launched into the events of the evening and frontline officers discovered that the 15-year-old is “developmentally delayed” and had been reported missing from home at an earlier time, with investigators already searching for the victim’s whereabouts.
The suspect, a 38-year-old man with numerous recent charges, including assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and breaching court-ordered conditions, has been identified. Police say they are currently working to locate the man and take him into custody, adding that they don’t believe there is a risk to the wider public at this time.
This file remains under investigation.
Anyone with information on this incident is being asked to call VicPD Report Desk at (250) 995-7654 ext 1.
To report what you know anonymously, please call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
READ MORE: West Shore RCMP investigating after man allegedly exposed himself to young girls at elementary school