'Dirty' needle used to stab woman in another Vancouver stranger attack: police
A suspect has been identified following the stabbing of a stranger with a needle, Vancouver police say.
It was reported that the victim was stabbed with a hypodermic needle by someone she did not know while leaving a coffee shop in the city's Chinatown area.
The 23-year-old woman was stabbed near Abbott and East Pender streets Wednesday afternoon, police said in a news release the next day.
Officers said they believe the woman may have been followed out of the café, then confronted by the suspect "who then stabbed her (in the leg) with the dirty needle," Vancouver Police Sgt. Steve Addison said Thursday of the incident in Chinatown.
"All signs point to this being a random and unprovoked assault on a victim who did nothing wrong."
The victim called police immediately. Because officers were alerted quickly, Addison said, they were able to arrest a suspect, a 35-year-old woman who is known to police. The victim was taken to hospital by ambulance.
“We’re concerned for the victim’s health and safety and because we don’t know what was in that needle and what long term health impacts could result from this,” said Addison.
In a statement to CTV News, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he’s concerned by the stabbing, but pointed to Vancouver Police Department statistics that show crime on a whole is trending downward.
“Every category of crime is down or holding steady compared to before the pandemic,” said Stewart.
However, the VPD said random attacks appear to be on the rise.
“We’re seeing more than four incidents a day where people are being assaulted by people they don’t know,” Addison said.
Vancouver City Councillor Pete Fry said this latest random attack speaks to a mental health crisis the city and its police force cannot tackle alone. He believes the federal government’s newly created mental health and addictions ministry needs to step in and help.
“We just can’t keep up. We just don’t have the resources to deal with this magnitude of issues, so we need more complex care solutions,” said Fry. “We’re grateful for the province stepping in with housing, but we need those wraparound supports as well. For a complete picture, and not just housing people who are having a tough time functioning in society.”
She has not been identified as no charges have been approved at this time. The investigation is ongoing, and the suspect has been released from police custody on a promise to appear in court at a later date.