Vancouver Police are appealing for victims and witnesses, after a 38-year-old man allegedly attacked at least five women and caused thousands of dollars in property damage during a 40-minute crime spree in Vancouver’s Fairview neighbourhood Saturday afternoon.
“Once again, these attacks appear completely unprovoked, and they must have been terrifying for everyone involved,” says Constable Tania Visintin. “We believe there are more victims, and likely dozens of witnesses, who have information and cell phone video footage that can help the police investigation.”
Vancouver Police began receiving 9-1-1 calls around noon on Saturday, reporting a man, possibly in psychosis, who was smashing glass and destroying property near Vancouver General Hospital, at Oak Street and West Broadway. The suspect allegedly approached a 40-year-old woman in her car, made shooting gestures, banged on the vehicle, and tried to open the car door. When she drove away, the suspect allegedly chased the vehicle down the street.
Thirty minutes later, the suspect allegedly chased joggers near the entrance of an apartment building. The joggers, who have not been identified, managed to seek refuge inside the building, but the suspect allegedly smashed the front door in an attempt to pursue them.
A woman who witnessed that incident was then accosted by the suspect, who allegedly cornered her and demanded her phone.
Moments later, the suspect approached a woman who was walking on Oak Street, and allegedly assaulted her by grabbing her by the hair and punching her. The 25-year-old woman broke free with the help of a bystander and fled to a building with a number of other frightened people, but the suspect allegedly pursed them through the hallways and stairwells of the building while threatening them and brandishing a large piece of broken glass. Police are looking for that bystander to come forward to assist with the investigation.
VPD officers responded from across the city and located the suspect outside a building near Oak Street and West 10th Avenue. He was arrested following a brief struggle and taken to hospital to get treatment for glass cuts, and because officers believed he was in psychosis. The man has since been taken to jail.
“Thankfully, nobody was physically injured during these frightening incidents, however VPD Victim Services staff are working with all of the victims to lend support and deal with the emotional trauma that will likely follow,” adds Constable Visintin. “So far investigators have identified five victims, but we believe there are more victims, and dozens of witnesses, who fled in fear before VPD officers arrived.”
Victims or witnesses who have not come forward, or anyone who has dash-cam video from the area Oak and West 11th Avenue taken between noon at 12:45 Saturday, is asked to call police at 604-717-4021.