Recognize this man? Suspect sought in violent attack on SkyTrain
VANCOUVER -- April 30 update: A suspect is in custody. Read the developing story here.
Police are searching for a suspect after a woman was punched multiple times on public transit in Metro Vancouver.
In a statement Wednesday, officers said she was attacked over the weekend.
The woman got on a SkyTrain at Waterfront Station shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday, Metro Vancouver Transit Police said.
She reported that she was approached by a man on the train who'd been staring at her.
When she asked the man if something was wrong, she said, the man yelled at her, "You people are why my daughter is sick."
But police say they still don't know the context of the comment.
"We don't know at the is point in time where that's stemming from," Sgt. Clint Hampton with MVTP told CTV News Vancouver.
"It's tough to say whether it's a racial remark or -- he mentioned sickness -- whether it's COVID-related, and really it's going to form a part of our investigation."
Police say the suspect then grabbed her bag and punched her in the face multiple times.
"He then grabbed her by the hair and back of the head, violently hitting her head against the SkyTrain seating," MVTP said.
It is alleged that when the train reached Burrard Station, the man pushed the woman through the open doors and grabbed her phone.
The woman was cut above her eye, and had a bloody nose and swelling to her face, police said.
She yelled for help, and two Good Samaritans got her bag back from the man.
The suspect broke her phone by throwing it against the wall, transit police said.
They say he stayed on the train, and eventually got off at King George Station.
"It seems shocking," said John Carr, a transit user who is new to Vancouver. "This place has always been extremely safe and kind. And now it seems to be getting to people."
While there can be a feeling of safety in numbers, these days TransLink reports ridership is down 83 per cent.
"Incidents like this, they are extremely rare," said Hampton. "This is a really violent incident."
The transit police force, which was contacted after the victim got home, released surveillance camera video Wednesday showing a man they believe is connected to the case.
The video shows the man on the SkyTrain prior to the incident, and at Main Street-Science World Station after the attack.
Police also have video of the alleged assault, but Hampton said it "was just too violent to share."
The suspect is described as South Asian and between the ages of 40 and 50.
He's around 5'5" to 5'7", with a medium build and a salt-and-pepper beard.
On the day of the attack, he was wearing a black jacket, green hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 604-516-7419, or to text 87-77-77.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Allison Hurst