Woman dead, suspect in custody after 7 people stabbed in North Vancouver
Police say there's no ongoing threat to public, man in custody known to police
A woman is dead and six other people are injured after police in North Vancouver said a suspect stabbed them in and around a public library in a quiet suburb of the North Shore.
North Vancouver RCMP said a suspect is in custody after he was arrested around 2 p.m. PT on Saturday near the Lynn Valley branch, on 1277 Lynn Valley Road, which is part of a local shopping centre.
Amy Robertson of B.C. Emergency Health Services said six patients were taken to hospital. She said 11 ambulances and two supervising vehicles were deployed to the scene. Robertson wasn't able to release details on the conditions of the patients.
Police said in a tweet that there only appears to have been one suspect and that there is no ongoing threat to the public.
WATCH | Excerpt from social media video shows what appears to be arrest of suspect:
The RCMP's homicide unit is now involved in the case and said Saturday evening that investigators have yet to identify all the victims.
Sgt. Frank Jang of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said the suspect — a man in his 20s who was arrested and is now in custody — has had interactions with police in the past.
Police have not determined a motive for the attack, but asked anyone who witnessed the incident or recorded footage to share it with police.
"Every little thing is important on this one," Jang said.
Ethan Pineda, who turns 18 on Sunday, said he was shaken by the incident. Pineda was working at the Booster Juice attached to the mall and library when he said he witnessed a man get stabbed outside the entrance to the shop inside the mall.
"I saw the knife, it was very large, it was no ordinary knife," he said. Pineda described the man who was stabbed as being in his 60s.
Pineda said he yelled for help, locked the door to the shop and called 911. He said he also saw the suspect enter an accessible washroom where he said another person was stabbed.
Justin Prasad, who works at a credit union near the library, told CBC News that he saw the suspect arrested by police and taken away in an ambulance. He said it appeared that the officers may have shot the suspect with rubber bullets.
"The response from the police was tremendous," Prasad said. "I've never seen so many cops in one area."
Rylan Harvey, 29, was eating out and shopping with his mother and fiancée in the area when they saw the heavy police presence and later witnessed police arresting the suspect.
Harvey said they walked over to the library and described seeing multiple people being taken out on stretchers looking like they had been severely injured.
"I hope the victims are OK," he said. "I'm very sad for this to have happened in our community."
Harvey just moved back to North Vancouver after living in Toronto for 10 years. He said most people who live in the area describe it as a quiet and idyllic place to live where the violence that played out on Saturday is highly unusual.
"People just seem to be generally shocked," he said. "How the hell can this happen in North Van? I grew up five minutes from here."
The District of North Vancouver said in a tweet that the library was closed for the rest of the day and asked people to avoid the area.
'Senseless act of violence,' MP says
Jonathan Wilkinson, the MP for North Vancouver, said he was shaken by the attack.
"This library has been a secure place for families to gather in the Lynn Valley community for years,'' Wilkinson, who is also the federal minister of environment and climate change, said in a statement. "Until today, it was unimaginable that such a senseless act of violence could have occurred in the very heart of it.''
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered condolences to the victims in a tweet later on Saturday.
"My heart is in North Vancouver tonight," he wrote. "To everyone affected by this violent incident in Lynn Valley, know that all Canadians are keeping you in our thoughts and wishing a speedy recovery to the injured."
My heart is in North Vancouver tonight. To everyone affected by this violent incident in Lynn Valley, know that all Canadians are keeping you in our thoughts and wishing a speedy recovery to the injured. <a href="https://t.co/8Q32wuOlTk">https://t.co/8Q32wuOlTk</a>—@JustinTrudeau
With files from Maryse Zeidler, Alex Migdal and the Canadian Press