Byron Thomas Hobbs released again despite violent assaults
Alleged victim, Vancouver tattoo parlour owner, Jo Jo Geronimo says she's scared
A man charged in a vicious assault on the owner of a Vancouver tattoo parlour has been released again, despite being wanted in connection with a series of other recent crimes in the downtown core, including a similar assault on another merchant.
How can he be released again and then he’s free to roam the streets?... I’m scared- Jo Jo Geronimo
The 50-year-old owner of Looks Wow Face & Body Art, Jo Jo Geronimo says she's been notified by court services that Byron Thomas Hobbs, 32, is back on the streets.
In surveillance video from Mar. 24, Geronimo is seen being thrown to the ground after she asks a man to leave her tattoo shop in the International Village Mall. The six-foot-three, 215-pound man is seen kicking the five-foot-two, 125-pound woman twice in the head. She reaches for a chair to defend herself, but it is turned against her and used as a weapon.
The assault only stops when other employees and a mall security guard step in.
Geronimo suffered a swollen cheek and a sore jaw, cuts inside her mouth and on her arms, and bruises on her legs and chest.
Hobbs is also charged in a similar assault on a downtown clothing store employee, who was allegedly punched in the face on asking Hobbs to leave the store a few days before the attack on Geronimo.
Geronimo says she found out last week from the court's victim services Hobbs had been released, and she's been scared ever since.
"I was wondering how can he be released again and then he’s free to roam the streets?" she said. "And so I’m scared. I was happy before that. Okay, he’s in jail detained, and I can go on with my life as normal. Now I’m getting nervous. Every day when I get to work, I hope he doesn’t come today, and I’m like that everyday."
Still, Geronimo says she knows Hobbs has mental health issues and hopes he gets the help he needs.
"I don’t want to say he should be jailed or this and that. If he needs help with his mental problem than that’s what they should give him, so I don’t wish for anyone to have anything bad happen to them right."
Geronimo says she started taking self defence classes but had to stop when she found her jaw had a hairline fracture from the attack.
Hobbs has been charged with assault and assault causing bodily harm.
With files from the CBC's Eric Rankin