An investigation after a man was threatened with a loaded gun has led to multiple arrests, according to Vancouver police.
The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) responded to a report by a bystander early Saturday morning (Sept. 17) of an altercation between two men in the lane behind the Carnegie Centre at Main and Hastings streets. Police say a resident of the Hastings Street encampment was threatened with a loaded gun.
The victim was not harmed but the suspect, 33-year-old Luis Alfredo Gaitan-Tijerino, fled. He was later arrested near Main and Keefer streets and is now charged with five criminal offences.
Gaitan-Tijerino is charged with assault, possession of a weapon, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, using a firearm during the commission of an indictable offence, and unauthorized possession of a loaded firearm.
“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 Sgt. Steve Addison of the VPD. “This incident underscores the dangers facing vulnerable people – especially those living on the streets in the Downtown Eastside.”
According to the VPD, the Downtown Eastside encampment zone has seen a 45 per cent increase in serious assaults and assaults with weapons between July 1 and August 31, compared to the same time period last year. Weapons offences in the encampment have increased by 61 per cent during that same time, compared to two months prior.