(Stock photo)

Nanaimo RCMP are continuing their investigation into a shooting that left one man in hospital with serious injuries.

On Sunday, March 12th, small business owner, Clint Smith was one of six people who went to a homeless  encampment near the Millstone River, just below Terminal Avenue.

The group went with the intent of retrieving stolen mechanic equipment stolen from Ernie’s Blackpoint Repair which Smith operates.

According to Nanaimo RCMP, an altercation involving gunshots broke out between those living at the encampment and the group of adults.

(Photo by GoFundMe for Clint Smith)

When paramedics arrived on scene, Smith was rushed to the hospital after being shot in the stomach.

Since the incident occurred, police said investigators have been reviewing numerous videos provided by businesses, witnesses, and dash cam evidence from motor vehicles.

They have received numerous witness statements, however, RCMP believe there are more witnesses out there with key information but haven’t spoken to them.

“Investigators are confident that they are moving forward and truly appreciate the cooperation and information that has been provided by general public,” said R/Cst Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

“Investigators are also aware that there are people in the community who may have information about the incident but for whatever reason, they have not come forward. We need to hear from them”, said O’Brien.

Smith remains in hospital and there is no time line as to when he will be released.

“The Nanaimo RCMP remains committed to ensuring the safety of all its citizens, and we will work with individuals, when lawful to do so, to solve crime and retrieving suspected stolen property,” said O’Brien.

Experiencing the incident firsthand, one of the victims took to Facebook after the shooting to recall the events of the altercation.

“Today we went to retrieve some stolen property from my buddies shop that was stolen early yesterday morning,” the Facebook post read.

“They were not happy we were there and we gathered up the stolen property and things went sideways,first punches were thrown and then one pulled out a gun and began shooting! Then another went for a rifle and began shooting so here we are trying to get this stolen shit out of there and avoid getting shot.”

“They chased us across the highway shooting.”

Good evening Van Isle and surrounding areas,so I am sure its going to come out that I was involved in todays…

Posted by Van Isle Clean Team on Sunday, March 12, 2023

A GoFundMe was launched to aid Smith and as of this publication, the fundraiser has  raised $23,646 raised of its $25,000 goal.

With a lengthy recovery expected for Smith, fundraising organizers are asking the public for their continued support as Smith takes time away from his business to recover.

“Remember, at the end of the day, nothing is more valuable than your safety and well-being”, said O’Brien when talking about the community confronting people suspected of stealing property.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

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