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$5,000 reward being offered by medicinal pot shop for information on West End assault
Vancouver police have released surveillance footage from the West End on Nov. 30, 2019 when a man was seriously assaulted. They hope to speak with three people who they believe know what happened. (Vancouver Police Department)
VANCOUVER -- A cannabis dispensary in Vancouver's West End is offering up a reward with the hope that someone will provide information leading to an arrest in connection to an alleged violent assault in the community.
On Nov. 30, just before 1 a.m., Vancouver police say 46-year-old Andrew Kurra was walking on Thurlow Street, heading north from Davie Street, when he had an argument with a group of people.
Kurra was then assaulted and is still in hospital with life-altering injuries.
Dori Dempster, executive director of operations for The Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary, said police called the Thurlow Street business hoping it would have surveillance footage.
It did, and Dempster said the footage suggested the incident was not an accident.
"We were able to see instantly that someone had been assaulted," Dempster told CTV News Vancouver. "It was a real terrible, terrible scene just watching the man just lying and waiting for help to arrive."
Watching the footage wasn't easy for Dempster, who said she was assaulted in 2017 after leaving one of her company's other locations. She sustained a head injury from that incident, and police weren't able to track down a suspect.
"I know how devastating my own injury was from being violently assaulted to the head and (Kurra) has suffered tremendously," she said.
"It just personally has reactivated some of my trauma and it's just a way of me doing something that I can to try and get these people that make these really violent decisions off the street, if possible, and not hurting people anymore."
Police have said they believe the incident was a "random attack that escalated from the initial verbal argument between the victim and a group of people."
Dempster said she wished police had released details about the incident sooner.
"I don't know that the community is even aware because nothing got said for a week," Dempster said, saying it may be hard for people to remember what happened or who they saw after time had passed.
"There's just way too much time before anything comes out and so many things go by. How are people to remember, especially when the description is so vague?"
While she hasn't ironed out all the details about how the reward – which is set at $5,000 – would be administered, Dempster hopes it will encourage individuals to come forward.
CTV News Vancouver has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department for more information about how they handle independently set rewards like Dempster's but has not yet received a response.
On Monday, the VPD released two short surveillance videos showing two men and a woman walking south along Bute Street toward Davie Street shortly after the assault. They have asked that anyone with information call 604-717-2541. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
"I just want the neighbourhood to be safe and I want people to feel comfort there. It's a hospital zone; it's supposed to be a place of safety," Dempster said. "That man was walking in his own neighbourhood and he should have been able to get home safely."