Trail RCMP say six youth and two 18-year-olds are accused of shooting at pedestrians with toy guns and gelatin BBs from two vehicles downtown.
Police were called late Sunday and discovered several people had been hit. They say the youth appeared to target the vulnerable street population in and around the La Nina shelter in the 1500 block of Bay Avenue.
Officers located the youth, who were from Trail, Warfield, Rossland, and Grindrod. All co-operated with officers, who talked to them about their “dangerous and disrespectful actions.”
One victim, a 36-year-old Trail man, told the youth how their actions made him and his wife feel and the challenges he faces in their life on the street.
Police said the youth apologized and “showed sincere remorse.”
Both drivers were ticketed for driving contrary to restrictions. Officers contacted the youths’ parents who came and got them, while the toy guns were seized and destroyed.
RCMP say it’s not the first time they have received complaints from shelter staff or the vulnerable population about being attacked.
“Trail RCMP asks for it to stop, and warns that criminal charges are possible for those committing these kinds of acts toward anyone,” they wrote in a news release.
“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.”
RCMP say last week they also responded to a number of homeless camps, drug overdoses, disturbances, and consensual fights downtown.
“Trail RCMP continue 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,” the release said.
Sgt. Mike Wicentowich said the community needs 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,” he said.
“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.”
Trail city council recently rejected the idea of moving the downtown shelter to the Gulch, but say they will continue to look for another location.
RCMP responded to single vehicle rollovers on two consecutive days in or near Rossland, although no one was seriously injured.
The first one happened Friday afternoon at the intersection of Murphy Creek Forest Service Road and Highway 3B.
A 62-year-old West Kelowna woman driving a 2021 Ford Ranger with one passenger lost control around a corner on the ice covered highway.
The truck slid off the highway into a snowbank, then rolled over onto its roof. The truck did not have winter tires, which is believed to be a factor. Speed and impairment have been ruled out.
The passenger, a 63-year-old West Kelowna man, suffered minor injuries and was treated in hospital.
Early the next morning, a 26-year-old Vancouver man driving a 2007 Toyota Tacoma with three passengers lost control of his truck in the 5000 block of Highway 3B. As in the first incident, the truck slid off the highway into a snowbank, then rolled over onto its roof.
This truck, however, had good winter tires. Police don’t think speed or impairment were factors. All four occupants escaped uninjured.