Vancouver police say they shot and injured a man who allegedly stabbed four people with a machete on Saturday night in the Granville Street area.
According to police, they were called to the intersection of Granville Street and Smithe Street around 10 p.m. PT Saturday after a man reportedly set his suite on fire within a rooming house.
He went on to attack four people with a machete in the building, according to VPD.
“He torched his room with gasoline and he stepped out in the hall with a machete and basically started attacking whoever got in his way,” said Crispin Bryce, the general manager of Siesta Rooms, the rooming house above the Roxy Cabaret where the incident started.
Bryce says the man brandished his weapon toward police.
Police subsequently shot and injured the man, who has been arrested. They say he is in hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.
Bryce says the suspect was a longtime resident in his mid-40s.
“He was pretty quiet,” he said. “He paid his rent, he kept to himself but he had his problems.”
The four victims are in hospital with what police describe as serious, life-altering injuries.
Bryce says the victims include a security guard, two residents and a visitor to the rooming house. Police have not confirmed their identities.
The Roxy Cabaret posted a statement that said it had to close due to the incident “at a neighbouring business.” Police were seen entering and exiting the club with forensic equipment.
Crime tape surrounded the busy Granville Street entertainment district for much of Saturday night as police investigated the incident. Bloodstains could be seen in the nearby alley and on the pavement.
Bryce said the attack has left some residents and staff on edge, though he said safety is always a concern when working in a rooming house.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, not up close and personal anyway,” he said.
“There’s kind of the possibility that always hangs in the air. There could be violence at any time, but that’s something you just get used to.”
The VPD says its Major Crimes Section is looking into the incident. There’s also a concurrent investigation being done by the Independent Investigations Office, which looks into incidents involving police that cause serious harm or death.
Mayor issues statement
Late Sunday, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart sent out a statement thanking Vancouver firefighters and police officers for their quick response and extending his sympathies to the families of the victims.
He called on the provincial government to do more to address prolific offenders and “respond to the dire need for more mental health services.”
“Gaps in our mental health and criminal justice system not only fail our public, but our first responders and partners in law enforcement,” Stewart said.
We need urgent justice system & health care reform to better support our first responders & prevent dangerous tragedies such as this. <br><br>Read my statement below for more. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/vanpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#vanpoli</a> <a href=”https://t.co/UoFV9CLazL”>pic.twitter.com/UoFV9CLazL</a>