Calgary man charged after 'hate-motivated' attack targets woman on LRT

A Calgary man is facing numerous charges after what police call a "hate-motivated" racist attack targeting a South Asian woman riding the LRT in early September.

Gary Dawson, 63, demanded woman give up her seat, then moved toward her, police said

The woman was on a CTrain around 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 at Chinook Station when it happened, Calgary police said in a release. This is a file photo. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

A Calgary man is facing numerous charges after what police call a "hate-motivated" racist attack targeting a South Asian woman riding the LRT in early September.

The woman was on a CTrain at about 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 when a couple boarded with a stroller at the Chinook Station, Calgary police said in a Wednesday news release.

One parent sat with the child while another stood nearby.

A man told the young woman to give up her seat for the parent who was standing.

"Despite the couple assuring the woman and man that they do not need the seat, the man's comments escalated to include racial and sexual slurs. The man then stood up and walked towards the young woman, but another passenger intervened and blocked him," police said.

Transit staff told the man to leave the train at the City Hall station. The young woman gave a statement to police further down the LRT line.

"This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable," Sgt. Gareth Joels said in the release.

"We want this young woman to know that Calgarians are not OK with what happened to her. It shows in the fact that people on the train intervened, and I hope it shows in all the investigative work we have done to try to hold the person responsible accountable."

Gary Francis Dawson, 63, of Calgary is facing a count of assault, criminal harassment, causing a disturbance and mischief.

Police said the incident is being treated as hate-motivated, which means it could be considered in sentencing if the person is found guilty.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Calgary police at 403-266-1234, referring to case #21345480/5124.


David Bell

Web Journalist

David Bell has been a professional, platform-agnostic journalist since he was the first graduate of Mount Royal University’s bachelor of communications in journalism program in 2009. His work regularly receives national exposure.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?