Vancouver tattoo parlour attack caught on camera, suspect released

A man charged in a vicious assault on the owner of a Vancouver tattoo parlour is back on the streets, despite being wanted in connection with a series of other recent crimes.

Surveillance video catches violent attack on Vancouver shop owner Jo Jo Geronimo

Byron Hobbs released after charged with assaulting Jo Jo Geronimo 1:55

A man charged in a vicious assault on the owner of a Vancouver tattoo parlour is back on the streets, despite being wanted in connection with a series of other recent crimes in the downtown core.

Byron Thomas Hobbs, 32, was released Monday night — just six hours after surveillance cameras caught a violent attack on tape.

The 50-year-old owner of Looks Wow Face & Body Art, Jo Jo Geronimo, is seen in the video being thrown to the ground after she asked a man to leave her tattoo shop in Tinseltown mall on Monday afternoon. 

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 he turns it against her and uses it as a weapon.

The assault only stops when other employees and a mall security guard step in to save her.

Geronimo suffered a swollen cheek and a sore jaw, cuts inside her mouth and on her arms, and bruises on her legs and chest.

"I'm shaking," said Geronimo. "I'm still scared because he might come back. It's like a brick that would hit me, and then you saw how he kicks me like a dog."

Geronimo said she tried to cancel an appointment with a regular customer because she had become increasingly worried about his behaviour. That led to an argument over a $15 credit — and ultimately the assault.

"I was actually proud of myself," she said. "I actually lifted the chair, and I was fighting."

Geronimo was not the only person to be attacked during the incident. The surveillance video also shows a female security guard being punched in the head as she and another guard hold the suspect until police arrive.

Suspect is known to police

Hobbs has been charged with assault and assault causing bodily harm on Monday night, but was released even though he is a suspect in two other cases, including the theft of an iPad at the Gastown Tattoo Parlour and the assault of a male employee at a Granville Mall shoe store.

"Unfortunately, at this point we can't provide information until someone has been charged with a criminal offence, but it's definitely something we'll look into," said Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Randy Fincham.

Hobbs is scheduled to make another community court appearance on Wednesday. In the meantime, he has been banned from Tinseltown, and most of the tattoo shops in Gastown and on Granville Street.

With files from the CBC's Eric Rankin