Vancouver Police say ‘this level of violence in a single weekend is concerning’

A 15-year-old boy has been charged following a series of seemingly random and unprovoked weekend attacks, which were among several violent crimes Vancouver Police were called to investigate during a busy weekend in the city.

“Several serious crimes and large-scale public events kept VPD stretched thin throughout the weekend,” said Sgt. Steve Addison on Monday. “Our officers responded to multiple stabbings and unprovoked attacks, investigated the year’s third homicide, dealt with a bomb scare, and provided extensive traffic support along the 42-kilometre BMO Vancouver Marathon route.”

The 15-year-old East Vancouver teen was arrested Saturday night, after three people were attacked without provocation on the seawall, near the Olympic Village. A 57-year-old victim called police around 9:15 p.m. after he was chased along the seawall by a teen, who repeatedly punched and kicked him. While searching for the suspect, officers located two additional victims – both women – who had also been punched for no reason.

Based on evidence collected at the crime scenes, police identified and arrested the teen, who was still in the area. He was taken to jail, charged with three counts of assault, and has since been released.

That incident was one of several serious weekend crimes now under investigation by the VPD. Other incidents of note:

  • A 31-year-old woman was walking on Drake Street Sunday afternoon when a man she did not know threw a rock towards her. The rock missed, but struck and damaged a nearby vehicle. The victim ran away and called 9-1-1. VPD officers identified a 45-year-old man, who was arrested close by. He was taken to jail for assault with a weapon and mischief.
  • A woman was walking near West Pender and Homer Street just before 1 a.m. Monday when she was robbed and assaulted by a woman holding a broken bottle. The victim, 31, watched the suspect enter a nearby convenience store and quickly called 9-1-1. VPD officers responded immediately and arrested the suspect for robbery and assault with a weapon. The suspect was taken to jail. The victim suffered facial injuries.
  • A man was leaving a 24-hour coffee shop near Station Street and Terminal Avenue on April 29 when he was followed and kicked by a stranger. The victim called 9-1-1 and VPD located the suspect inside the coffee shop. The victim was uninjured. The suspect, a 43-year-old man, was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital.
  • A man was stabbed in the abdomen while walking in the north lane of East Hastings Street, in the Downtown Eastside, on April 29. The victim, 29, ran away and told a witness, who called 9-1-1. The victim, whose injuries are not life-threatening, is so far uncooperative with the police investigation.
  • A teenager was with friends at Leeside Skatepark, near Empire Field, when a stranger assaulted him with bear spray and stole his skateboard Saturday afternoon. The teen was not seriously injured. The victim and suspect did not know each other. VPD is investigating, and no arrests have been made.
  • A 38-year-old man was shocked in the leg with a makeshift stun-gun near Main and Hastings Sunday afternoon. The suspect, a 47-year-old woman who lives in the area, fled with an accomplice before police arrived. The investigation is ongoing.
  • The VPD was called to a social housing building in Strathcona on Saturday night, after a 33-year-old man was stabbed in the arm by a neighbour during a physical fight. The victim was taken to hospital for stitches and the suspect was taken to jail, but released without charges. Two days later, VPD again responded after the two men started fighting. In the second case, the suspect in the original incident suffered knife wounds and the original victim was arrested for assault with a weapon and taken to jail.

“This level of violence in a single weekend is concerning, especially when the incidents involve stranger-on-stranger attacks and weapons like knives, bear spray, and other make-shift weapons,” said Addison, adding that violent crime in Vancouver increased 7.1 per cent in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“In each of these cases, police were able to identify and arrest suspects, or secure valuable evidence, because people quickly called 9-1-1,” he added.

The VPD encourages anyone who is the victim of violent crime, or has information about a crime in progress, to call 9-1-1 immediately. Less serious crimes, including those where there is no suspect on scene and no immediate safety risk, should call the ECOMM non-emergency line at 604-717-3321.

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