Elderly man with dementia attacked in racially motivated incident caught on camera: Vancouver police
VANCOUVER -- April 23 update: Police say they've identified a suspect. Developing story here.
Vancouver police released photos and video Wednesday showing a suspect in what officers describe as a racially motivated attack.
Officers say the incident took place last month in East Vancouver.
A 92-year-old man, who police say has "severe dementia" had walked into a convenience store.
Staff members were trying to help the elderly Asian man when another customer started shouting racist remarks at the victim, the Vancouver Police Department said in a news release Wednesday.
Some of the comments were related to COVID-19.
The incident continued outside, where it is alleged the elderly man was shoved. The man fell to the ground and hit his head, police said.
Officers were called to the store, but the other man had left the scene.
The VPD released photos of the suspect Wednesday, saying the assault is being investigated as a hate crime.
"Everything about this assault and the behaviour of the suspect is despicable," Const. Tania Visintin said in a statement.
"As a police department, we do not tolerate incidents motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate. It's even more disturbing considering the victim's age."
The suspect has been described as white and in his 50s. Police said they believe he's about six feet tall with a heavy build, and is balding, with short, dark hair.
At the time, he was wearing a grey button-up short over a black T-shirt with a skull design.
His pants and running shoes were black, and he was wearing a thick gold bracelet, gold necklace and gold rings, the VPD said.
The department said it's seen an increase in hate-motivated incidents and criminal behaviour directed towards people of Asian descent during the pandemic.
There were 11 hate crimes reported in Vancouver in March, five of which, police say, "had an anti-Asian element."
In the first four months of 2020, nine anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported in the city. As a comparison, police said, there were a dozen reported in all of 2019.
And officers said the actual number of hate crimes in the city could be higher.
"We know that hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents are generally underreported. We believe the increase in March is indicative of a larger issue," Visintin said. "We are making a plea to victims or people who witness hate crimes to please come forward and report the incidents to police so they can be investigated."
The investigation into the March 13 assault is ongoing, and anyone with more information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.