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1 man in hospital after shooting at Oppenheimer Park

Police respond to a shooting at Oppenheimer Park on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.
Police respond to a shooting at Oppenheimer Park on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. Sam Dharmapla / Twitter

Vancouver Police have confirmed a man has non-life threatening injuries after a shooting Thursday evening at Oppenheimer Park.

Callers to the Global BC newsroom described hearing five to six gunshots, and said more than a dozen heavily-armed officers were called to the scene.

One witness, who provided video to Global News and asked not to be named for fear of retribution, said they heard what sounded like fireworks. The witness said police appeared to be searching tents.

BC Emergency Health Services says one person was taken to hospital in serious condition.

READ MORE: ‘A million dollars so far’: Oppenheimer Park camp sees rising city costs, 53% spike in police calls

It says a paramedic crew was responding to a potential overdose about two blocks away around 6 p.m. when they heard shots fired, and notified dispatch who called police.

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The paramedics continued with their initial call, and four other units were dispatched to the park, it said.

Vancouver Park Board now says it has plan to deal with Oppenheimer Park tent city
Vancouver Park Board now says it has plan to deal with Oppenheimer Park tent city

On Friday, Vancouver police said the victim remains in hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Police went on to say they apprehended and questioned a person on Thursday night. The person has since been released and no one has been charged, police said.

The park has been the site of an entrenched homeless camp for more than a year, and police have repeatedly warned that it is acting as a “magnet” for a criminal element.

There have been at least two shootings at the park. In one case, police say a man accidentally shot his mother.

In the other, a man was seriously injured.

How to handle the encampment has become a political football among the city’s elected officials.

The Vancouver Park Board voted earlier this week to give its general manager the power to seek a court injunction to remove the campers — but only after a series of stringent conditions were met.

READ MORE: City renews safety concerns in Oppenheimer Park after fires sparked by propane heaters

Those include hiring an outside consultant to advise on how to “decamp” the park, finding a way to get campers to leave voluntarily and only when there is enough housing or shelter space, and doing so in accordance with the principles of reconciliation.

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Non-Partisan Association (NPA) commissioners on the board have urged it to act more swiftly and apply for an injunction immediately.