Loaded assault-style rifle found in tent bag in Strathcona neighbourhood

A loaded semi-automatic, assault-style rifle that somebody left in a bag in a residential laneway not from Strathcona Park  is triggering fears in a neighbourhood already on edge because of the nearby tent city that’s sprung up since spring.

Vancouver police say the gun was found Thursday in an oversized tent bag by a construction worker around 9:30 a.m., in a lane or alley near Prior Street and Heatley Avenue, not far from the west end of Strathcona Park.

When Deputy Chief Howard Chow of the Vancouver Police Department tweeted out a photo of the gun on Tuesday, it immediately attracted attention and some fear online that the gun may have turned up in the nearby tent city.

However, Tania Visintin of the Vancouver Police Department said the gun was not found in the park itself.

Police described the bag as an oversized tent bag that a tent could be folded or collapsed into.

Visintin said that the gun’s serial number had been removed so a forensic team is swabbing the firearm for fingerprints.

“It’s making it quite difficult,” said Visintin.

Police are also reviewing security camera footage from the area to try to track down who left the bag behind with such dangerous contents inside.

However, police confirmed the gun is not a restricted weapon in Canada.

“It does pose a risk. That’s why our members got involved.”

Strathcona Park is the site of Vancouver’s newest tent city, after tents at Oppenheimer Park and Crab Park were dismantled in the spring. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

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