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'Someone bear-sprayed him in the face': Man assaulted on crowded Vancouver beach

The suspect was not located and remains at large.
Someone bear-sprayed a man who was partying with friends on English Bay beach.

Police say someone bear-sprayed a 23-year-old man on a packed Vancouver beach over the weekend. 

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) was patrolling the waterfront on Friday night (May 12) when they were flagged over to assist a man who had been bear-sprayed by a person in the crowd, according to a news release.

The victim was partying with a group of friends when "someone bear-sprayed him in the face." The suspect disappeared into the crowd following the assault. 

Police assisted the victim and stayed with him until Vancouver Fire Rescue Services arrived to decontaminate him. 

The suspect was not located and remains at large.

The VPD reported its third-busiest weekend of 2023, as soaring temperatures brought massive crowds to city parks and beaches. In total, its officers responded to 1,800 incidents between Friday and Monday, which was an increase of over a third (36 per cent) from last year. 

Police also received 28 calls about incidents on beaches, representing a staggering 250 per increase year-over-year. 

“Summer temperatures always bring more people to the city from surrounding communities, and after a rainy start to the year, we’re glad to see people getting out to enjoy the sun in Vancouver,” says Sgt. Steve Addison.

“While the vast majority of people stayed safe and acted responsibly, whenever we see this many people gathering outside, there’s bound to be more incidents requiring police.”