'It was a cry for help': Stabbing victim recalls weekend attack in Safeway parking lot
VANCOUVER -- Christina Labarca and her husband Colin Morrison had just finished their weekly grocery shopping trip at the Safeway on East Broadway and Commercial Drive. Morrison was pushing the cart out of the store while Labarca was checking the receipt.
“Suddenly I felt someone hit me in my side,” Labarca recalled. “It felt like I’d has been punched hard.”
Morrison reacted instinctively, pursuing the female attacker, and saw she had a knife in her hand. He described it as a “small Swiss Army knife.”
He yelled for people to stay in their vehicles, while Labarca reached for her phone to call 911. That’s when she realized she was bleeding.
Labarca suffered a stab wound to her side, approximately 1.5 to two inches deep.
Meanwhile, Morrison, along with another customer and two Safeway employees managed to keep the suspect at the scene until Vancouver police arrived.
“The officers took the suspect to the hospital to be assessed,” said Const. Tania Visintin. “She did put up a fight with them, biting them, kicking them.”
The suspect, a 38-year-old woman from Vancouver, remains in custody and faces charges of assault, assault with a weapon and assaulting a police officer.
Visintin said random attacks like the one Labarca suffered are uncommon.
Labarca’s wound required staples, but no major organs have been damaged.
“I’m very lucky,” she said, “I was in the trauma unit for four hours.”
She says she couldn’t be more grateful to the first responders and healthcare workers who helped, along with the people who managed to subdue the suspect, two of whom suffered minor injuries.
Neither Labarca nor Morrison had ever seen the suspect before, but they hope she gets help for what they perceive to be obvious mental health issues.
“She kept saying ‘kill me now, kill me now’ over and over again,” Morrison recalled.
“I told my girls, my wounds will heal in a couple of weeks, but this woman has wounds that might take years to heal," Labarca said. "It was a cry for help."
She’s now healing at home, and says the incident hasn’t scared her off from returning to the same grocery store in the future.
“I don’t want to live my life looking over my shoulder.”