bc-090412-homeless-death-houghton

Vancouver police Const. Lindsey Houghton says the force has added two dozen officers to beat patrols on the Downtown Eastside. ((CBC))

Vancouver police have arrested two people following a violent and apparently random attack with a crowbar on the city's troubled Downtown Eastside on Tuesday night.

A 43-year-old man was walking in a lane off Hastings Street a block west of Main just before midnight, when an unprovoked woman suddenly came up and hit him in the face with a tire iron, according Const. Lindsey Houghton.  

The victim didn't know the woman, or a second man who joined the attack, but both continued hitting and kicking the man until police arrived, he said.

"Police who were walking the beat heard the screams for help and rushed in to save the man," said Houghton.

The victim, who lost two teeth and needed a number of stitches to his face, remained in hospital on Wednesday, said Houghton.

Tasha Laureen Carpenter, 31, of Surrey and Brandon Alexander Paul, 24, of Vancouver have both been charged with one count of assault with a weapon and one count of assault causing bodily harm. Both are known to police, said Houghton.

Violent assaults across the city are up this year, but police are trying to combat the trend by adding two dozen officers to foot patrols, he said.

"We have enhanced beat teams since last year," said Houghton. "We have two more full beat squads in the Downtown Eastside. We're working very hard, and we hope that those numbers turn around."

Houghton says people need to be aware of their personal safety at all times.

On Sunday, a Surrey man was slashed in the face in another apparent random attack after he completed the Sun Run. Witnesses cornered the suspect, who was charged with assault, but the victim continues to recover in hospital.