Witnesses recount helping victims of stabbing attacks at B.C. library
One dead, six injured after violence Saturday
By Brenna Owen
VANCOUVER — A man who had just arrived at a cafe in the area where seven people were stabbed on Saturday says others worked to help the victims in the minutes before first responders arrived.
Flowers and wreaths were laid Sunday near the scene that left a young woman dead and injured six others in and around a library in North Vancouver, B.C.
Darren Hailes said he had just finished a run with some friends and they were standing on a patio just outside the Lynn Valley library, unaware of the attacks that would leave one woman dead and six people injured.
“We weren’t immediately aware of the violence that had just taken place because the area was so calm,” he recounted in an interview on Sunday.
Then, he said, someone approached and asked Hailes if he had first aid training to help multiple people injured inside the library lobby. He did.
“I saw people running and out of the cafe bringing tea towels and various supplies to help with some of the bleeding. Somebody (had) obviously gone and got the first aid kit.”
Hailes estimates he arrived about a minute after the attacker left the lobby.
“The passage of time is quite blurry in my mind, but it didn’t feel very long before I first saw a fire engine pull up in front of the library and police arrived and paramedics arrived,” he said. “They immediately, of course, went to triage all of the different victims.”
Hailes said he later talked to a man who tried to lure the attacker away from other people around the library.
“Realizing he wasn’t going to be able to intervene and stop a man with a knife on his own, he immediately began to back away and to call the attacker toward him.”
The man backed through the library lobby and down the street and he was there when police arrested the suspect, Hailes said.
A man in his 20s is in custody, Sgt. Frank Jang of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team told a news conference on Saturday. The man has had interactions with police in the past and has a criminal record, he said.
Jang said investigators still don’t understand the motive for the attack that took place in a busy shopping area, where families were enjoying the last weekend before the end of spring break.
“Obviously the question is why did this happen, I understand. We believe we know the how, the what, the where and the when. It is our job now to determine why,” he told a news conference near the library. “That is going to be the No. 1 question for us.”
Steve Mossop and his partner stopped when they saw a woman who was covered in blood while they were driving on Lynn Valley Road next to the library. He said they thought she’d been in a car accident, but she told them she’d just been stabbed by a man.
Mossop said they saw several victims within about 100 metres of each other.
“It seemed like he was just running in a direction, whoever was in his path happened to be victimized,” he said.
“There was a man, there was an older woman, there was a younger woman, a mom. A random group of individuals in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
B.C. Emergency Health Services said 11 ambulances and two supervising vehicles were sent to the scene after a call was received at about 1:45 p.m.
Jonathan Wilkinson, the MP for North Vancouver and minister of environment and climate change, said he was “shaken” by the attack, and expressed how important the Lynn Valley Public Library is to the community.
“This library has been a secure place for families to gather in the Lynn Valley community for years,” he said in a statement. “Until today, it was unimaginable that such a senseless act of violence could have occurred in the very heart of it.”
On Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “To everyone affected by this violent incident in Lynn Valley, know that all Canadians are keeping you in our thoughts and wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.”
Jang said every available homicide detective is working on the case as he asked those who may have been in the area on Saturday afternoon to come forward with any information that might help the investigation.
“Every little thing is important on this one. If you heard anything, if you were here and you saw the man that was taken into custody, if you heard him saying anything or whatever the case may be, we need you to come forward.”