British Columbia

Suspect charged in stabbing spree at Vancouver's CRAB Park during violent weekend on Eastside

Vancouver police say a suspect has been charged in connection with multiple stabbings at a tent encampment in Vancouver's CRAB Park on Saturday. 

3 people were seriously injured, according to police

Police say a suspect arrested in relation to three people being stabbed at CRAB Park on Oct. 8, 2022, was a resident at the camp. (Sohrab Sandhu/CBC News)

Police say a suspect has been charged in connection with multiple stabbings at a tent encampment in Vancouver's CRAB Park early Saturday. 

Denis Sleightholme, 42, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a weapon.

Sleightholme was arrested Saturday morning following what witnesses described as a "stabbing spree" that began around 3 a.m.

Three victims suffered serious injuries, including stab wounds and punctured organs, police said Saturday.

Police believe there may have been other victims who fled the park before they arrived.

Series of violent attacks

Police said the stabbings were among a number of violent attacks in and around the Downtown Eastside over the weekend.

On Friday night, a stabbing near East Hastings Street and Campbell Avenue left an 18-year-old man with serious injuries. Another stabbing near West Hastings and Cambie Streets resulted in life-threatening injuries to a 48-year-old man.

Mark Marrisen is also a mayoral candidate for Progress Vancouver. He joins us to talk about what he's learned following his overnight stay at CRAB Park this past weekend, and how that informs his vision for addressing homelessness, safety and mental health in the city.

Saturday afternoon, police said officers were called to the corner of Carrall and Hastings streets, where a man was struck in the chest by an arrow believed to be shot from a crossbow.

Vince Tao, an organizer with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), called the weekend's violence "upsetting and alarming."

Many tents remain along Hastings Street as officials continue to try to get people to move but not with the same large-scale type of operation they undertook in August.

Tao said people staying there are not coping well because they're being harassed by police or coerced by city staff. The threat of being ousted remains, and he says they have nowhere to go.

"Conditions on the street have become chaotic," he said. "These conditions create a lot of distrust of others, a lot of chaos on the street, and unfortunately, people are taking out their frustrations laterally on each other."

With files from Michelle Gomez and Chad Pawson