Recent Stanley Park attacks on 2 men ring alarm bells in Vancouver's LGBT community
'People are wondering ... is there a serial predator out there'
The second attack in less than three months in Stanley Park has caused some people in Vancouver's LGBT community to become fearful, but police say there is no sign that the victims' sexual orientation motivated the two incidents.
On Feb. 1, 61-year-old Lubomir Kunik's body was discovered on the seawall between Second Beach and Third Beach.
He's been described as an amateur photographer who was likely in the park taking pictures of the night sky.
In November 2016, an 82-year-old man was severely injured and left in his car in a parking lot near Brockton Oval.
He remains in hospital but is expected to make a full recovery, according to police.
The location of the attacks has LGBT community activist Jamie Lee Hamilton on edge.
"The attacks are right by, to be honest, the gay cruising trail. One was at one end and the other was at the other end so it's concerning," said Hamilton.
"People are wondering if there is a serial predator out there and if there is, the community has to be aware of that."
No specific danger
A Vancouver police spokesman says there is no evidence to support that concern although the public has been warned not to venture into the park alone at night.
"We don't have any reason whatsoever, at this point, to say that any particular community was targeted," said Const. Jason Doucette.
"If we had information that would lead us to believe that a particular segment of our community was being targeted we'd certainly speak up about it because that's important to us as well."
Investigators, according to Doucette, have not been able to link the two incidents but also have not been able to definitely separate them.
"That disturbs me. Haven't we learned anything from the missing and murdered women?" said Hamilton, who is also a member of the Vancouver Police Department's LGBT liaison committee.
"Remember back then police said 'oh, no nothing is going on' and I think if they take that stance, what happens is that other people get victimized."
Second Beach is close to trails often used by gay men who meet in the park, say LGBT community members.
It's also where Aaron Webster was beaten to death in 2001 by a group of youths with baseball bats.
"Young kids targeted the cruising area because they had hate for homosexuals,' said Hamilton.
"We know a lot of closeted men do go down to Stanley Park late at night."
Hamilton says even if there's no evidence at this point to link the crimes investigators still need to talk to the LGBT community.
"We're the ones that might hold information that they are going to need," she said.
A LGBT community forum to discuss the attacks with Vancouver police has been scheduled for Feb. 16 at the Gordon Neighbourhood House.