Two arrested, one in hospital following shooting at Nanaimo encampment

Two arrested, one in hospital following shooting at Nanaimo encampment

Two people are in custody and a man is in hospital following a shooting in a well-known homeless encampment in Nanaimo.

It was shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday after when First responders arrived on Terminal Avenue in Nanaimo following reports of gunfire in a steep wooded area off the road.

“They were getting ropes and a stretcher to go down the embankment and eventually what they did bring up was one person and they put them in the ambulance and took off, code three with lights and sirens going,” said Kevan Shaw, a witness to the response.

Police say when their members arrived they found a severely injured man on the brink of dying.

“Our members provided emergency first aid, basically saved that person’s life. Got him to the hospital where he was stabilized and he remains in care,” said Const. Gary O’Brien with Nanaimo RCMP.

Around the same time police got a second call of a person with stab wounds at Nanaimo’s hospital. At first officers thought the two were connected.

“Totally unrelated to the shooting but it did require a lot of resources and time to investigate both,” said O’Brien.

Police determined the uncooperative victim was stabbed on Victoria Road. His injuries were minor.

Back at the shooting scene police arrested two men and a police dog helped recover a firearm in the area.

Police remained on scene for hours.

It’s the same encampment where area business owner Clint Smith went to retrieve some stolen items from his shop in March and was shot.

“So why this street criminal encampment has been left in place for three months now is insane and crazy and heads with whatever governments should start to roll. This is endangering this community,” said Shaw.

When CHEK News went into the area Thursday no one was around but there were several large tents.

The neighbourhood association has been calling on the city and province, as the land is provincially owned, to remove the encampment for months after a long list of issues including fires, explosions, and the previous shooting.

“There has to be some kind of change and nothing is enough to do something it seems,” said Karen Kuwica, President of the Newcastle Community Association.

The City of Nanaimo says it’s removed encampments and cleaned the area numerous times, most recently in 2022, despite it being Ministry of Transportation land and another cleanup is in the planning.

Both suspects involved in Wednesday’s shooting remain in custody.

It’s expected the shooting victim will survive.

An area resident started an online petition in May calling on the province and city to remove the camps on the banks of the Millstone River near Terminal Avenue.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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