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Arrest made after teen choked in Victoria park, campers tried to block medical treatment: police

Click to play video: 'Missing teen badly hurt in Beacon Hill Park attack' Missing teen badly hurt in Beacon Hill Park attack
A 15 year-old with developmental disabilities who had been reported missing suffered potentially life-altering injuries after being assaulted and choked at Victoria's Beacon Hill Park tent city. A 38 year-old suspect is now wanted. Kylie Stanton reports – Apr 21, 2021

Victoria police say a man has been arrested after a 15-year-old was allegedly choked in a tent in Beacon Hill Park, leaving them with “potentially life-altering injuries.”

The victim is developmentally delayed and had recently been reported missing from home, according to investigators.

Read more: Woman’s death in Victoria park ruled a homicide, police renew call for witnesses

Police said when they responded to the incident, they were met with abusive campers sheltering in the park who tried to prevent first responders from treating the teen.

Investigators said officers were called to an area of the park near Douglas Street and Circle Drive around 10 p.m. Tuesday to help with a medical call.

Click to play video: 'Body found in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park' Body found in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park
Body found in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park – Mar 3, 2021

“Numerous people who are camping in the park stood close by and were interfering with the victim’s medical treatment,” police said in a media release.

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“When officers attempted to speak with the victim, numerous people who are camping in the park began to intervene, urging the victim to not speak with officers, to not go to hospital for medical treatment, and to leave the area.”

Read more: B.C. signs deal with City of Victoria to end homeless camps, bring people inside

Police further allege the bystanders confronted officers and paramedics and physically grabbed the victim in an attempt to pull them away, resulting in a struggle between officers and campers.

Officers took custody of the teen under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, and called for additional backup, according to Victoria police. The teen was taken to hospital for treatment.

Click to play video: 'Victoria man dies in vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park' Victoria man dies in vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park
Victoria man dies in vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park – Mar 4, 2021

Police said an officer was bitten and another was hit in the mouth with spit during the altercation.

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“This is nothing new. Any time you get large encampments you get a criminal element that preys on the vulnerable,” Victoria Coun. Stephen Andrew said.

Victoria says it intends to house all campers by end of April, but it will take action against the encampments if people refuse shelter options.

“We will go to court, we will get an injunction, and you will be removed,” Andrew added.

Read more: 60-year-old man dies in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park; second death in two days

Police said Thursday that an officer arrested a 38-year-old suspect in Beacon Hill Park around 7 p.m. Wednesday. Recommended charges include assault, assault by choking, assault with a weapon, sexual interference, and sexual exploitation.

The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Victoria police or Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers.

— with files from Kylie Stanton

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