Second attack on Trail homeless man in the space of nine days
On Feb. 28, at 8:57 a.m., frontline Trail RCMP officers responded to a report of a 36-year-old Trail man who had been shot in the face with a BB gun in the 1300 block of Pine Avenue in Trail, according to Trail RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich.
“Officers located the man who had a small bloody wound on his face,” Wicentowich said. “The man did not see his attacker but recalled the sound of an air pistol being pumped with air prior to being injured. His injury was treated on scene by BC Ambulance, and he declined further assessment. The man then declined to proceed further with the investigation, despite being asked by the officer to provide a statement.”
Wicentowich said officers noted that this man was the same victim who had been shot with plastic BBs on the previous Sunday, Feb. 19.
“Officers conducted patrols and spoke to a witness in the downtown area. The witness informed officers that around 7:10 a.m., a person known to reside on the street had offered a warning that a 34-year-old Trail man was shooting people with a BB gun,. Officers located the 34-year-old Trail man, arrested him on an outstanding unendorsed warrant of arrest, and investigated him for assault with a weapon. Officers took the man into custody.”
The matter remains under investigation.
It is quite shocking to have a second incident occur in the downtown area so quickly after the first. It is difficult for people on the streets to find a safe and secure location to avoid attacks,” Wicentowich said.
In related news, Trail City Council and Mayor, at their regular meeting Feb. 13, voted against a BC Housing proposal to set up a temporary homeless shelter at 585 Rossland Ave.
Wicentowich said the lack of a shelter could potentially lead to a greater homelessness issue in the city.
The Trail Community Action team is working to find solutions to some of the issues involved – on Facebook, they describe their efforts as follows: “The Trail CAT works to reduce harm and improve services for people with lived and living experience of substance use in the Lower Columbia. We do so through support and advocacy.”
On Feb. 19, at 11:40 p.m., Frontline Trail and Greater District RCMP officers responded to a report of eight youths who allegedly shot pedestrians with toy guns and gelatin BB while traveling in two vehicles in downtown Trail, according to Trail RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich.
“Officers discovered the BBs allegedly hit multiple people; and the youth appeared to target the vulnerable street population in and around the La Nina Shelter in the 1500 block of Bay Avenue.
“RCMP officers conducted patrols and located the two vehicles containing six youth and two 18-year-old adults from Trail, Warfield, Rossland, and Grindrod. All were cooperative with the officers during the investigation after the roadside detention. Officers spoke to the group about their dangerous and disrespectful actions. One of the victims, a 36-year-old Trail man, took the time to speak to the youth about how their actions made him and his wife feel, and the serious challenges he faced in their life on the street. The youth apologized for their actions and showed sincere remorse from their behaviour.”
He said officers issued both drivers a violation tickets for Driving Contrary to Licence Restriction, contrary to Section 25(15) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act. RCMP contacted the parents of the youth who attended the scene and took custody of their children, and police seized both toy guns for destruction.
“Trail RCMP does receive complaints from shelter staff and vulnerable populations about attacks from assailants in the community. Trail RCMP asks for it to stop, and warns that criminal charges are possible for those committing these kinds of acts toward anyone. The youth and young adults could be charged with assault. However, the victim chose compassion and to treat this as a teaching opportunity. Trail RCMP hopes they have learnt their lesson, as this could have gone much worse for these youth involved.
“Last week, Trail RCMP officers responded to a number of homeless camps, drug overdoses, disturbances, consensual fights, and suspected drug overdoses in downtown Trail. Trail RCMP continues to work with their community partners and government to find solutions to helping this vulnerable group out of a lifestyle that they often find themselves trapped due to individual circumstances.
Trail RCMP strongly recommends that, as a community, we all continue to advocate for supports and treatment for those who need it. Programs are needed to help people find housing, regularly connect to medical and mental health services, establish drug use oversight and opioid replacements in a post-de-criminalization world. These supports are critical in reducing issues that are a factor in the cause of crime. The condition of downtown will likely persist due to a continued housing shortage, as per the information provided by BC Housing.