Victoria police are looking for a man who allegedly choked and assaulted a 15-year-old in a tent at Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night.
The teenager is developmentally delayed and had been reported missing from home, police say.
In addition, the department says two officers who responded to the incident were assaulted by people camping in the park, who obstructed the police investigation and interfered with attempts by paramedics to treat the teenager’s injuries.
One officer was bitten, while another was spit upon, the police department said in a statement.
The incident began shortly after 10 p.m. when paramedics responded to a medical call in the park and alerted police when they learned that the victim had been assaulted.
When the officers arrived, they found a number of campers standing near the paramedics, “interfering with the victim’s medical treatment.”
“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,” the department said in a statement.
“They began confronting the officers and paramedics and continued to urge the 15-year-old victim to leave the area, physically grabbing the victim and pulling them away.”
Fearing for the victim’s safety, the officers took the teenager into custody under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, the department said. A struggle ensued involving the campers, officers and the teen, prompting police to call for backup, the department said.
Eventually, the victim was carried to an ambulance and taken to hospital.
Police are looking for a 38-year-old suspect with numerous recent charges for assault and breaching court conditions, the statement said.