'No clear motive:' Suspect in custody after 4 injured in violent attacks in downtown Calgary

Calgary police have a suspect in custody after four people were injured in a series of random attacks in the downtown core early Friday morning that sent three victims to hospital.

'We continue to believe that these attacks are random,' say police

Police cordoned off the CTrain station at Fourth Street in the downtown core and LRT service was suspended after four people were attacked early Friday morning. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Calgary police have a suspect in custody after four people were injured in a series of random attacks in the downtown core early Friday morning that sent three victims to hospital.

The Calgary Police Service said a man was taken into custody around 4 p.m. local time.

Supt. Cliff O'Brien said the early morning attacks were random.

"We continue to believe that these attacks are random, and we have not identified a clear motive," O'Brien said prior to the arrest. There is no common theme among the victims that the investigators have zeroed in on at this time."

Police said in a release that at about 3:15 a.m. a man called for help from the Fourth Street LRT station saying he had been slashed with a machete. O'Brien said Transit employees had to perform life-saving first aid on the victim. 

Thirty minutes later, a second victim was located unconscious in a bus shelter at Sixth Avenue and First Street S.W.

Calgary police have charged a suspect in a series of attacks in the city's downtown core on Friday. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Both men were taken to Foothills hospital, the second in life-threatening condition. O'Brien said both men have undergone surgery. 

A third victim was found at about 4 a.m. in the 100 block of Sixth Avenue S.W. He said he had been knocked unconscious and woke up a short time later. He did not need to go to the hospital.

O'Brien said officers have now found a fourth victim, who was attacked near the south end of the Peace Bridge. He was taken to hospital with hand injuries, and has since been released. 

He said the public wasn't immediately warned because at first it was hard to see a link between the attacks, connecting them to one person. He also said it was clear to officers that the suspect was no longer in the area.  

O'Brien also said police were working with multiple crime scenes and more than 800 urgent calls in 24 hours, noting 21 patrol officers, canine teams, air patrol, investigative units and surveillance teams were working to find the suspect. 

Police cordoned off a five-block radius from Fourth Street to east of First Street southwest as officers investigated.

CTrain service through the core to stations in the west and northwest was halted for several hours because of the investigation.

At 11:30 a.m., Calgary Transit tweeted that service had resumed, but that trains are not stopping at the Fourth Street or Third Street stations.

With files from John Gibson


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