Violent SkyTrain attack: Surveillance video leads to arrest of suspect, charges laid
VANCOUVER -- Police say a suspect has been arrested and charged in the hours following the release of surveillance video related to an attack on public transit in Metro Vancouver.
Officers said a man was taken into custody by Vancouver police Wednesday afternoon.
A caller had reported they'd seen a man they believed to be the suspect near Trout Lake at John Hendry Park.
The man was identified by police as Sandy Sanderson, a 51-year-old of no fixed address. He was known to police prior to his arrest Wednesday, police said.
The man has a history of mental illness, police told CTV News. Whether that played a role in the assault will be looked into.
He was charged Thursday with assault causing bodily harm and mischief.
In an emailed statement identifying the man, police said no information was available on the suspect's disposition.
News of the arrest comes just a short time after Metro Vancouver Transit Police released video of a man tied to an attack on a SkyTrain over the weekend.
MVTP released a short clip Wednesday morning showing a man on a train, and later walking on the platform of a station.
They said a woman was attacked Saturday morning.
She'd gotten on a SkyTrain at Waterfront Station shortly before 8 a.m.
The woman 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."
MVTP say the comment will be looked into, including the motivation behind it.
An increase in hate crimes has been reported in Vancouver, particularly when it comes to anti-Asian sentiments.
Officers said the victim is a visible minority, but is not Asian.
After shouting at the woman, police say, he 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 has 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.
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.
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 Sheila Scott