VANCOUVER — Police in Nanaimo say they are investigating a disturbing incident in which a person experiencing homelessness was run over and pepper-sprayed in the city.
The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday on Victoria Avenue near 102nd Street, Nanaimo RCMP said in a news release.
Police said they received “numerous reports from independent witnesses” that the male victim was pushing a shopping cart along Victoria Avenue when a black car with several people inside pulled up and stopped next to him.
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“The victim and those in the vehicle exchanged words, and then the driver of the suspect vehicle reportedly sped up and drove over the man, knocking him to the ground,” police said in their release.
Police said witnesses told them one of the occupants of the vehicle then got out and pepper-sprayed the victim as he was lying on the ground.
The vehicle, which police described as “a small car,” then “sped off in an unknown direction,” police said.
The 45-year-old victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries, police said, adding that they had secured his belongings and his shopping cart at the Nanaimo RCMP detachment until he is able to pick them up.
“This incident is extremely troubling as it appears, from all accounts, (that) the victim was targeted for being a marginalized person,” said Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson Const. Gary O’Brien, in the release.
“Our priority is to find out who is responsible and to ensure this does not happen again,” O’Brien added.
Police said witnesses were unable to provide a licence plate for the suspect vehicle. The only description available is that it was a small black car, possibly a GMC, and that there were several people inside, according to police.
Anyone who has information on the incident should call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file number 2021-25532, police said.
Original Article: https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/man-experiencing-homelessness-run-over-pepper-sprayed-in-nanaimo-rcmp-say-1.5505180