Ottawa

Man charged after 4 stabbed at Ottawa shelter

A 33-year-old man accused of stabbing four people at the Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday night is facing multiple charges.

Client calls for metal detectors at Salvation Army Booth Centre

Four people were taken to hospital after a stabbing at the Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre on Wednesday night. All suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said. (Jérémie Bergeron/Radio-Canada)

A 33-year-old man accused of stabbing four people at the Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday night is facing multiple charges.

Ottawa police said a man armed with a knife entered the ByWard Market shelter around 8:50 p.m. and stabbed four people. All four suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved.- Glenn van Gulik, Salvation Army

The victims, three men and a woman, are staff members and clients of the shelter, police said.

A man with no fixed address is facing numerous charges including four counts of assault with a weapon and four counts of aggravated assault.

"Our team is actively assisting Ottawa Police Services with the ongoing response," said Glenn van Gulik, a spokesperson with the Salvation Army's Ontario division in a news release Wednesday night. "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved."

Staff and chaplains are available to provide support to residents and staff, said van Gulik on Thursday. 

"With COVID-19 protocols in effect, The Salvation Army has also established remote counselling services for staff and are working on similar support service for residents," he said.

Client calls for metal detectors

Dustin Purdy, a client of the Booth Centre, said he often feels unsafe at the shelter and thinks the Salvation Army should install a metal detector, or at least pat people down for weapons.

"They got to check because it's not hard to bring in a box-cutting knife, and then all of a sudden you've got yourself a problem," he said on Thursday.

Dustin Purdy, a client of the Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre on George Street, says he often feels unsafe at the shelter and thinks staff should check people for weapons as they enter the building. (CBC)

Purdy said he saw some of the people who were injured Wednesday night, and said it especially disturbed him to see staff victimized.

"It was sad to see," he said. "That bothered me because the workers should feel safe here and not have to worry about that kind of stuff."

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury said Wednesday's stabbing is a further sign the current shelter model is outdated and needs to be entirely rethought. He wants to see a shift away from shelters toward more long-term, stable housing options for people experiencing homelessness.

"The model really is about housing first. It's about housing and supports, it's about offering a key to a unit with a kitchen and a bathroom to those who find themselves on the street and then attach the support services," Fleury said.

The Salvation Army declined an interview with CBC Thursday afternoon, directing all further questions about Wednesday's stabbing to Ottawa police. 

With files from Kimberley Molina

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