Nanaimo house riddled with bullets; man turns up with gunshot wounds

A derelict house in Nanaimo was riddled with bullets Sunday afternoon and a man with gunshot wounds turned up at the local hospital a short time later.

RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien said police received numerous 911 calls around 1 p.m. about shots being fired at a flop house near the intersection of Nicol and Needham streets. Officers were on the scene within minutes and searched the interior of the residence but found no one, said O’Brien.

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However, about 20 minutes later, police were told that a man was being treated at Nanaimo Regional Hospital for injuries thought to have been caused by a firearm. Then police received information about a suspect vehicle moving down the highway, said O’Brien. Officers moved in and arrested a man and woman and seized their vehicle for forensic testing.

“It’s all related to the drug culture,” said O’Brien. “It’s obviously a beef between certain individuals. We don’t know why or how it happened.”

The man with wounds consistent with being shot with a firearm is “extremely lucky,” said O’Brien. He was treated and released from hospital. At this point, police don’t know if he’s a suspect or a victim.

The people who were arrested have been released from custody while the investigation continues, said O’Brien. Police believe the shooting was targeted. The people involved appear to know each other.

“The use of firearms however, and the blatant disregard for the safety of individuals in our community is troubling, and can be attributed to the drug culture in Nanaimo and the violence associated with it,” he said. “They just don’t care. It’s 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Sunday and they’re firing bullets off in an area where people are walking, children are playing. They just don’t care.”

The city, bylaw officers and police are aware that the derelict house is used by those entrenched in the drug culture, said O’Brien. “And we’re making strides trying to get it boarded up and closed.” he said.

The gunfire is not related to two attacks on homeless men in Nanaimo in recent months, he said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file #2021-38031.

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