British Columbia

Suspect's racist comments sparked attack on Vancouver bus, Transit Police say

Transit Police say there has been another attack sparked by racist comments in Vancouver, this time on board a bus.

Officers say victim was kicked, punched, had hair pulled out after intervening in abuse of 2 Asian passengers

A 48-year-old Vancouver man is believed to be responsible for an attack on a bus in April. (Vancouver Police)

Transit Police say there has been another attack sparked by racist comments in Vancouver, this time on board a bus.

The alleged assault took place on a bus that had stopped to pick up passengers at Main and Hastings at approximately 4:30 p.m. PT on April 15, according to a statement released Tuesday.

Two women police identified as Asian boarded the bus, both wearing face masks.

"He immediately directed his attention to [the women] who were wearing protective masks," said Const. Mike Yake. "During that time, the man allegedly made the comment of 'go back to your country; that's where it all started.'"

A woman sitting directly across from the suspect told him to leave the other two women alone, police said, leading to a brief argument between the pair and then the assault.

The suspect allegedly jumped up and kicked the woman in the leg. As the woman stood to defend herself, he violently pulled her hair so hard that a large clump was pulled from her head, according to the statement.

The victim was then punched numerous times in the head and wrestled to the ground, police said.

The victim was able fight off the suspect, who then left the bus and was last seen running away near Commercial Drive and East Hastings Street, police said. 

"We need to make sure we have a thorough investigation," Yake said. "We've exhausted other avenues as a means to identify the suspect. And today we've got to that point, and that's why we are reaching out to the public."

The suspect is described as a white man, 45-55 years of age, approximately five feet six inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds, with a stocky build.

He was wearing a red baseball hat with the letter "V" marked in the centre, a blue T-shirt, light grey sweatpants and blue shoes. He was carrying a dark grey jacket and a grey backpack.

Police are asking anyone who might have witnessed the attack, or who can help them identify the suspect, to call the Metro Vancouver Transit Police tip line at 604-516-7419.