Vancouver Police seeks witnesses, victims to random machete attacks

VANCOUVER Police Department is appealing for additional victims and witnesses to come forward after a 33-year-old man was charged for allegedly attacking two strangers on Granville Street on New Year’s Eve.

“These attacks appear to have been completely unprovoked,” said Sgt. Steve Addison on Wednesday. “We believe there is at least one more victim, and possibly more, who have not yet come forward.”

Officers arrested the suspect near Granville and Nelson streets at about 7 p.m. on December 31, after a 52-year-old man was struck in the head by a man carrying a machete. The victim, who was hospitalized with head injuries, stumbled to a nearby restaurant while onlookers flagged down police.

Police have since learned of at least two additional machete attacks. A 26-year-old homeless man suffered facial injuries when assaulted around 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve near Granville and Nelson. A 29-year-old homeless man escaped serious injury when assaulted outside the Canadian Tire at Cambie Street and 7th Avenue around 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

“These incidents all occurred in busy places and we believe there are many people who either saw what happened or have information that can help investigators,” said Addison. “We’d like those people to give us a call and tell us what they know.”

Cruz Joseph, 33, has been charged with two counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of assault bodily harm, robbery, and possession of a dangerous weapon in connection with the December 31 incidents on Granville Street. The other incidents remain under investigation.

VPD asks anyone with information to call VPD’s Major Crime Section at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.