Residents of Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood say they’re on edge once again after a man was seen chasing and threatening people with a chainsaw.
A resident shot some video of the incident.
Multiple residents called 911 around 6 p.m. Sunday, Vancouver police confirmed.
“That man was then seen entering Strathcona Park,” Const. Tania Visintin told Global News. The officers then went into the park and found a man whom they believed was the suspect and arrested him.
However, at the time of the arrest, he wasn’t wearing the same clothes as the man in the video and he didn’t have a chainsaw with him.
“Witnesses couldn’t say for sure that was the same man who was doing the threatening so that man was released pending further investigation,” Visintin said.
A chainsaw was not found.
Katie Lewis with the Strathcona Residents’ Association says she spoke to a neighbour who was chased. He is traumatized and only managed to escape by getting into a stranger’s car on Prior Street, Lewis said.
Visintin added that no one was injured but they still want to hear from people who were in the area at the time and who may have video of the incident.
Tension has been building in the East Vancouver neighbourhood since homeless people and housing activists established the Strathcona Park camp after being pushed out of Oppenheimer Park and a former lot next to CRAB Park in June.
The camp has since grown to more than 400 tents.
Tenters have said the camp is safer than shelters or living on the street, while neighbourhood residents have said it has become a haven for criminals and contributed to an uptick in violent incidents in the area.
On Sept. 23, a man was found unresponsive in the encampment following a serious assault. He could have been lying there for up to 12 hours before anyone called 911, police said.
More recently, neighbours reported a number of scary incidents involving children — including two kids being threatened and another child who was picked up and shaken in the water park by a stranger who appeared to be experiencing psychosis.