Suspect in Langara College arson facing additional charges
Published Friday, April 5, 2019 10:04AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, April 5, 2019 7:20PM PDT
The 23-year-old man charged after someone detonated "improvised incendiary devices" on the Langara College campus earlier this week is facing new allegations.
Nasradin Ali was allegedly involved in a fight with a student on campus in early March, and robbed another student at a bus stop weeks later, according to police.
He's now charged with assault and robbery in addition to the arson-related offences that were laid after Monday's fires, which forced a campus-wide evacuation and a full day of cancelled classes.
Police said the alleged March 7 assault wasn't reported until after the fires, but the March 26 robbery was the day it happened.
"Detectives have since been able to collect enough evidence for Crown to lay a robbery charge against Ali," Const. Jason Doucette said in a news release.
The college declined to comment on the March incident citing privacy concerns.
"However, we would like to assure our community that we have processes in place to identify risks and to investigate and respond to safety and student conduct issues," a spokesperson wrote in a statement adding, "we confirm that our processes were followed in each of these incidents."
Ali was arrested hours after Monday's fires were sparked in Langara's T building, and has remained in custody ever since.
He made a brief court appearance Friday morning in Vancouver with family members in attendance. No contact orders were issued for five people including the man allegedly assaulted in early March and the person robbed later in the month. The director of student conduct with Langara College was also listed.
Police said two devices went off at campus and a third was found undetonated somewhere at the school. Authorities described them as "inflammatory devices attached to an ignition," and said they easily could have injured someone.
Whether the alleged assault and robbery are related to the fires is under investigation.
"We're still looking at motive in this file. The suspect is in custody and were able to really slow things down now and see if it creates a bigger package that for us," said Const. Doucette.
Fortunately, no one was hurt. Officials said the fires did do damage to T building, which is expected to remain at least partially closed until the summer.
Administrators have been forced to relocate a number of classes, exams and events in the meantime.
"Remediation work is progressing very well," Langara said in an update this week. "We expect that the T building will partially re-open later this month, and that all classrooms and labs will be ready for the start of the summer term on May 6."
Ali is charged with arson in relation to inhabited property and possession of incendiary material in connection with the fires.
Vancouver police said they are still looking into a motive for all three events.