Kamloops man assaulted for removing anti-homeless sign | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops man assaulted for removing anti-homeless sign

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Mel Rothenburger

Nate Moats returned to his Westmount home bloodied after he was assaulted for tearing down a protest sign at a proposed shelter location in Kamloops Monday afternoon.

Moats was biking home from his job as a dog walker when he saw a poster attached to a fence on Kingston Avenue that called on people to "defend yourselves" and to "fight" B.C. Housing, Kamloops city council and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

His mother, Darlene Doricic, said her son was assaulted for tearing down the sign.

"Someone walked by and started screaming," she said, and when Moats tried to flee, the unknown assailant cornered him.

"Nate tried to maneuver away and the man punched him in the face. Nate got up and yelled back at him, and that's when the man fled," Doricic said. "My son came home, his entire face and clothes were covered in blood, and he said, 'Mom, I have an emergency.'"

Doricic said Moats, who is 21 years old, is autistic and social situations are "not his thing," but he allowed his mom to speak for him. They reported the assault to RCMP around 2 p.m., Nov. 29.

Police now have a file open and are looking to the public for any witnesses. RCMP spokesperson Const. Crystal Evelyn described the sign as "anti-homelessness," in a written statement.

The sign was posted to a fence surrounding a 600 Kingston Ave. property, near Halston Bridge. That property is the location of the planned Moira House, a temporary housing facility.

READ MORE: Kamloops residents take aim at new B.C. Housing shelter location

A group of Westmount neighbours are mobilizing in opposition to the forthcoming Moira House, and Doricic said it's largely being stoked by fear.

"They are suggesting all homeless people are addicts and going to destroy the community. What we're seeing is Westmount is becoming what they fear," she said. "Now it's going down this ugly, violent path."

She has been tearing down the signs as soon as they'd show up on the fence and her son decided to take that same approach on Monday.

He is always kind and would give away the clothes on his own back, she said.

"At home, I'm the one saying go kill that spider in the house, and he's the one scooping it up to take it outside. It makes me sick that this is the community we live in," Doricic said. "Part of what's fearful for me is my son, in another place in time, is one who would have fallen through the cracks — one that the community would say we should be fearful of."

The Moira House location was proposed by the City of Kamloops to B.C. Housing, according to recently released documents from a closed council meeting.

B.C. Housing is expected to construct the temporary housing using modular buildings, and Canadian Mental Health Association will operate the facility.

Dennis Hayes, a nearby Westmount resident, has been organizing residents in the neighbourhood to oppose the housing facility, out of concern that it would bring unwanted social issues to the area.

However, he told iNFOnews.ca that he has spoken with neighbours and all have denied involvement or knowledge of who the suspect might be.

READ MORE: Evacuees from Merritt feeling the strain on emergency management system in Kamloops

Hayes insists that any of his neighbours that oppose Moira House should engage in a letter writing campaign, contact city councillors or sign a petition.

The use of violence in opposition to a proposed shelter location is "reprehensible," he said.

Police described the suspect as a Caucasian male, with stubble, standing about 5'11". He was wearing a jacket with camouflage patches and was walking two dogs at the time.

Anyone who witnessed the incident, has information related to the incident or can identify the suspect, can contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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