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Vancouver police arrest 4 after guns found in tent in Hastings Street encampment

Click to play video: '4 men arrested and face gun charges after VPD raid'
4 men arrested and face gun charges after VPD raid
WATCH: Four men have been arrested and are facing charges after police seized guns from the Hastings Street tent encampment on Sunday. – Aug 22, 2022

Vancouver police said they were recommending “multiple charges” against four men after officers seized two guns from a tent in an encampment in the city’s Downtown Eastside.

Police, including the department’s Emergency Response Team, descended on the tent near Hastings and Carrall streets around 8 a.m. on Sunday on a tip that guns and drugs were being stored inside.

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The seized weapons included a loaded shotgun, according to police. Police suspect the guns were being used “for protection and to intimidate other people in the encampment.

“We’ve grown increasingly concerned over the last six or seven weeks about this encampment has continued to grow over public safety,” Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison said.

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“We’ve seen more assaults, we’ve seen stabbings, we’ve seen sex assaults, we’ve seen people just going about their daily business who have been assaulted by strangers in the encampment. To now have guns, things like loaded shotguns, infiltrating into that encampment increases the level of concern for us.”

Addison said this was the first seizure of guns he was aware of from the encampment.

Click to play video: '‘Cycle of displacement’: Homeless advocates condemn Hastings Street decampment'
‘Cycle of displacement’: Homeless advocates condemn Hastings Street decampment

The suspects include a 40-year-old from Vancouver, a 23-year-old from Burnaby and two men in their 20s from Surrey. All four are due in court in October.

The homeless encampment on the 100 block of Hastings Street has become a growing flashpoint since the city’s fire chief ordered it to clear out over fire and life safety risks in late July.

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City of Vancouver staff began a “decampment” initiative on Aug. 9, which appears to have stalled.

People sheltering on the street, homeless advocates and BC Housing all say there are not enough units available to accommodate everyone currently living in the encampment.

Click to play video: 'Chaos as City of Vancouver staff move in on East Hastings tent and structures'
Chaos as City of Vancouver staff move in on East Hastings tent and structures

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