RCMP rounded up a group of youths shooting pedestrians and unhoused people with toy guns in downtown Trail this week.
The police reported that eight teens were allegedly targeting people living on the street with toy guns and gelatin BBs while traveling in two vehicles around midnight Sunday (Feb. 19).
“The BBs allegedly hit multiple people; and the youth appeared to target the vulnerable street population in and around La Nina Shelter in the 1500 block of Bay Ave.,” said an RCMP release from Sgt. Mike Wicentowich.
Police conducted patrols and located the two vehicles containing six youths and two 18-year-old adults from Trail, Warfield, Rossland and Grindrod.
“All were co-operative with the officers during the investigation after the roadside detention. Officers spoke to the group about their dangerous and disrespectful actions.”
One of the victims, a 36-year-old Trail man, spoke to the youth about their actions and how the assault affected him and his wife. He talked about the serious challenges they faced in their life on the street.
The police said the youth apologized for their actions and showed sincere remorse for their behaviour.
Officers issued both drivers a violation ticket for driving contrary to licence restriction. They contacted the parents of the youth and seized both toy guns for destruction.
Trail RCMP have received many past complaints from shelter staff and vulnerable people regarding assaults.
“Trail RCMP asks for it to stop, and warns that criminal charges are possible for those committing these kinds of acts toward anyone,” said Wicentowich. “The youth and young adults could be charged with assault. However, the victim chose compassion and (chose) 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.”
Last week, Wicentowich says that the Trail RCMP officers responded to a number of homeless camps, drug overdoses, disturbances, consensual fights, and suspected drug overdoses in downtown Trail.
“Trail RCMP strongly recommends that, as a community, we all continue to advocate for supports and treatment for those who need it.”
Due to concerns raised by the community last week, city council scuttled a proposal for a shelter across from the Colombo Lodge on Rossland Ave.
Wicentowich recognizes the need to help vulnerable people find housing, and regularly connect to medical and mental health services, establish drug use oversight and opioid replacements in a post-de-criminalization world.
“These supports are critical in reducing issues that are a factor in the cause of crime,” added Sgt. Wicentowich. “The condition of downtown will likely persist due to a continued housing shortage.”