UPDATE: VicPD defend decision not to warn public after initial attack

String of assaults downtown Wednesday night left several people with serious injuries

Victoria Police are defending their decision not to issue a public warning after a Wednesday morning assault that later came to be linked to a string of assaults believed to have been committed by the same person.

Nine hours after the initial attack, the suspect was arrested in relation to a series of assaults using a field hockey stick as a weapon.

When asked why the public wasn’t warned sooner, community engagement officer Bowen Osoko said that police believed the earlier attack was isolated.

“There was nothing in the earlier incident that can point to what occurred later and it is only once the suspect was taken into custody that the link between the incidents was able to be made,” he said.

He added that the volume of calls police regularly receive makes it difficult to issue public warnings after all such calls.

“In 2018 we’ve had 487 assault calls so far. That’s an average of 3.6 assault calls a day,” he said in an emailed statement. “Due the sheer volume of the numbers of these types of calls, from a resource perspective it is simply not possible to effectively warn the public of the potential of a further assault each time an assault occurs in our jurisdiction. Instead, we focus on investigating each incident, and where the investigation points to a risk to the public, we then act.”

Numerous charges have been recommended against the man. Patrol officers were called to the area near Pandora Avenue and Store Street after the report of an assault at 9:45 p.m.

As officers were attending the scene, multiple other 911 calls were made involving similar incidents. Multiple victims have been identified, all sustaining non-life threatening injuries. The suspect also damaged property as he moved through the downtown area.

Multiple sources claim a man assaulted several people with a field hockey stick, starting near Pandora and Fisgard before moving to Bastion Square, and heading towards Humboldt and Douglas streets, where police were able to stop him and take him into custody.

Alex Lopez was working at the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour near that intersection when he saw the flashing lights.

“I was cleaning the concierge lounge at that time and I saw lots of police,” he said, noting that it was 10:01 p.m.

Lopez also said kept an eye on things and by 10:17 p.m. he saw one man on a stretcher being loaded onto an ambulance.

Investigators are recommending several charges including:

  • 2 counts of aggravated assault
  • 3 counts of assault causing bodily harm
  • 5 counts of assault with a weapon
  • 1 count of mischief
  • several counts of breach of probation

Police are asking witnesses and victims of assault or victims of damage to their property to please come forward.

Anyone with additional information can call the Victoria Police Department at 250-995-7654 or can call anonymously to the Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-888-8477.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

New quartet of Saanich councillors queue up for new role

Nathalie Chambers, Rebecca Mersereau, Ned Taylor and Zac de Vries join four incumbents

Incumbent Saanich councillors look forward to working with fresh faces

Re-elected Coun. Judy Brownoff said voters elected a healthy mix for next four years in Saanich

Rotating Canada Post strikes begin in Victoria

Monday’s mail will be delayed one day due to strike

What to pack in an emergency-preparedness kit for earthquakes

Several earthquakes of Vancouver Island’s West Coast have people wondering how to be ready

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell says mayor-elect Haynes has been campaigning for four years

Atwell calls time in mayor’s office a “struggle” in saying he was only vote on council

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read