Victoria police, tactical officers carry out high-risk arrest at supportive housing facility

Victoria police and the region’s emergency response team carried out a high-risk arrest at a temporary supportive housing facility in the former Paul’s Motor Inn early Friday.

The man was wanted on several warrants in several municipalities for charges relating to drug trafficking, possession of stolen property, vehicle theft, possession of firearms and breach of court-ordered conditions.

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The arrest involved more than a dozen officers, including armed tactical members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team. The man surrendered just after 2 a.m. after tactical officers used a flash bang device. No one was injured.

Victoria police statistics show that 60 per cent of high-priority calls between June and November were focused on the city’s multi-unit residential temporary housing facilities and encampments in parks and areas in the immediate vicinity.

Police responded to 4,384 priority one or priority two calls at the 13 locations between June — shortly after the B.C. government purchased or leased several hotels in Victoria this summer to house hundreds of people living in encampments in Topaz Park and on Pandora Avenue — and November.

Priority one is for the most serious emergency calls, those involving a risk of loss of life or grievous bodily harm. Examples include in-progress abductions, assaults, domestic disputes, home invasions, robberies, sexual assaults, screams for help, shootings, stabbings, and suicidal persons. Priority two is for urgent calls, such as those to a residential break-in in progress, that also require an immediate police response.

Attorney General David Eby told the Times Colonist this month that the provincial government is looking to buy or lease another hotel or vacant residential building in Greater Victoria to house hundreds of people before the end of March.

Eby did not specify which hotels or buildings are being looked at, but did promise the location would be outside the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood, which is already home to several supportive housing facilities. The City of Victoria has said it will work with B.C. Housing to provide housing for the approximately 190 people sheltering in Victoria parks.

The provincial government purchased the 75-room Paul’s Motor Inn on Douglas Street for about $15 million in June. The province also spent $18.5 million to buy the Comfort Inn and Suites, which now houses more than 160 people, including 80 who were displaced by the November fire at the Capital City Centre Hotel.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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