British Columbia

Vancouver man's '40-minute crime spree' included attacks on women in Fairview area, police say

Vancouver police say residents of an apartment building in the city's Fairview neighbourhood were traumatized when a man went on a violent crime spree Saturday.

38-year-old arrested at scene, faces several charges including assault, uttering threats, break and enter

Karen MacDonald describes a string of violent assaults that occurred in and near the Vancouver apartment building where she lives on Saturday. (David P. Ball/CBC News)

Vancouver police say a suspect has been charged after a violent "40-minute crime spree" that targeted several women in the city's Fairview neighbourhood.

The attacks began around noon Saturday, with officers responding to a spate of assaults on women in and near the apartment building on West 10th Avenue, near Oak Street. Police say the incident was traumatizing for many building residents.

"I was at home and I heard a crash of glass," said Karen MacDonald as she stood outside the building's entrance Sunday afternoon. "A guy went running down the hall, kicked in a window and ... two girls were coming out, he chased them and picked up a shard of glass saying, 'I'm going to kill you.'"

Const. Tania Visintin said a 38-year-old man was arrested at the scene in "possible psychosis."

She said police believe he only targeted women, including one woman in her car outside, and several joggers who attempted to seek shelter inside the apartment building until the alleged attacker broke the entrance's glass.

"According to witness accounts he was running by men on the street and his targets were females," Visintin told reporters a day after the incident. "These were unprovoked attacks.

"They would have been terrifying for these victims, absolutely terrifying ... You can imagine the trauma they would have been left with."

Police arrested the suspect outside the building after what they described as a "brief struggle." 

Vancouver police officers investigate the scene of a series of violent attacks in an apartment building on West 10th Avenue on Saturday. (David P. Ball/CBC News)

On Monday, Vancouver police issued a release saying 38-year-old Cole Stanley Martin of Vancouver had been charged with several offences stemming from the incident Saturday.

Martin appeared in court Monday morning. His charges include two counts of assault with a weapon, one count of assault, one count of assaulting a police officer, three counts of uttering threats and one count of break and enter.

Visintin also said the incident left "thousands of dollars in property damage during a 40-minute crime spree." On Sunday, piles of broken glass were seen at the building's entrance, as well as on the corner of Oak Street.

Among those targeted, police said the suspect banged on a vehicle outside the building with a woman inside, making "shooting gestures" and trying to open the door.

Soon after, the suspect allegedly grabbed another woman walking nearby by the hair and punched her. When she escaped with the help of a bystander, whom police are still hoping to speak with, she and several women jogging past were chased "through the hallways and stairwells of the building" as the suspect allegedly threatened them with a "large piece of broken glass," Visintin said.

MacDonald said the incident has left her in near-constant tears and shattered her sense of safety at home.

"I feel horrid, I feel very violated," she said. "I feel like you're safe in your own home, and this place is really safe."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David P. Ball

Journalist

David P. Ball is a multimedia journalist with CBC News in Vancouver. He has previously reported for the Toronto Star, Agence France-Presse, and The Tyee, and has won awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists and Jack Webster Foundation. You can send story tips or ideas to david.ball@cbc.ca, or contact him on Twitter.

With files from Bridgette Watson

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