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Man charged in caught-on-camera assault of woman on Vancouver bus

A man has been charged in a shocking, unprovoked assault on a woman riding a Vancouver bus that was caught on camera back in June.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police have confirmed Sunday that Shakwan Kelly is facing one count of assault. Court records show the charge was laid on Friday. Kelly's next court appearance is set for Tuesday.

In July, police released surveillance footage in an attempt to advance their investigation. At the time, they said the 43-year-old victim was punched repeatedly in the head and face.

She boarded a northbound Main Street bus at about 7:30 p.m. on June 20 when a man she didn't know boarded at Marine Drive and sat a few seats away from her.

Not long after the bus left, police said, the man allegedly approached the woman and stood a few inches from her, shook his fist in the air and threatened to punch her. The woman talked to the bus driver to make him aware of the situation.

Video of the encounter shows that, when the bus stopped, the man approached the victim while she was talking to the driver. That's when he allegedly punched her several times, causing her to fall down.

“It is really concerning, I mean unprovoked assaults like this seem to be on the rise,” Const. Amanda Steed of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police told CTV News Monday.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say on public transit just in general they seem to be on the uptick,” added Steed.

Police also confirmed that Kelly was the same man who was arrested after knocking over a woman and toddler in Chinatown in July. 

"We're only one part of the puzzle, one piece of the puzzle. We do our part, we recommend charges to Crown council, and it is ultimately up to them whether or not they hold somebody in custody,” said Steed.

The BC NDP government has come under fire for what many have called a “catch-and-release” system.

Earlier this year, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said 40 people were responsible for over 6,300 incidents in the city.

In April, the B.C. Urban Mayors' Caucus, which includes 13 mayors, sent a letter to the attorney general and the solicitor general. The letter, shared online by the opposition Liberals, urges the government to act on the big city mayors' concerns about chronic offenders.

Shortly after the letter was released, Attorney General David Eby announced that former Vancouver Police Department deputy chief Doug LePard and Dr. Amanda Butler – a health researcher and criminologist – would consult with stakeholders and explore possible solutions to both repeat offenders and stranger attacks. Some of the issues to be examined include real-time electronic monitoring and compulsory social supports.

The findings of that report are expected to be released in the fall.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan Top Stories

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