Senior ‘traumatized’ after racist bear bomb attack in Vancouver

Police are looking for a 30 to 40-year-old man, about 6 feet tall, wearing a black jacket and gray baseball cap.

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A senior is traumatized after being attacked with bear spray in Vancouver’s Chinatown on Friday, the latest police say in a string of racially charged attacks in the city.

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The 87-year-old victim, a Chinatown resident, was out for his morning walk when the assault happened around 11:40 a.m., police said. He was standing at the bus stop near Pender and Columbia streets when a stranger approached him, made racist comments, then sprayed him in the face.

Visintin said the attack was seen by at least one passerby who stopped to help.

“There is every indication that this incident was unprovoked and may have been fueled by anti-Asian hatred,” Const. Tania Visintin, spokesperson for the Vancouver police.

On Saturday, Visintin posted an image of a suspect taken by a CCTV camera in the area.

Vancouver police are looking for a suspect in connection with a racist bear attack on an elderly person in Chinatown on Friday.
Vancouver police are looking for a suspect in connection with a racist bear attack on an elderly person in Chinatown on Friday. .jpg
Vancouver police are looking for a suspect in connection with a racist bear attack on an elderly person in Chinatown on Friday.
Vancouver police are looking for a suspect in connection with a racist bear attack on an elderly person in Chinatown on Friday. .jpg

“Given the time of day and location of this incident, we believe there were witnesses who have yet to come forward. We also believe there will be people who recognize the suspect and may help us identify it,” she said.

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The suspect fled after the assault and has not been identified. The elder sought help from a nearby business, who called 911. Police say he was traumatized by the incident, but had no life-threatening physical injuries .

Investigators are investigating whether Friday’s attack is linked to offensive graffiti that appeared this week on the red doors outside Dr Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Garden, a few meters from where the person elderly was assaulted. The graffiti – the word “Shhh” in white paint – was interpreted by many community members as a backlash against Chinatown residents who have increasingly spoken out about crime and safety issues in their neighborhood, according to the police.

Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 300% increase in reported graffiti incidents and a 425% increase in anti-Asian hate crime incidents in Chinatown, police said.

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Yet nearly two-thirds of crime goes unreported in the neighborhood, according to merchants and residents who spoke to VPD about their concerns.

“People who live and work in Chinatown deserve to feel safe, valued and respected,” Visintin said. “The violent and unprovoked attacks, rampant graffiti and disorder in the streets are appalling, and these incidents continue to erode people’s sense of safety.”

She said police have stepped up patrols in Chinatown and are working closely with merchants and community residents to address community concerns such as graffiti, street disturbances and racist incidents.

Investigators from the VPD’s Hate Crimes Team and Major Crimes Section are reviewing evidence from Friday’s assault.

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Police are looking for a man between 30 and 40 years old and about 1.80 meters tall. He wore a black jacket, dark colored pants, a gray baseball cap, gray shoes with red trim and white soles, and carried a black backpack.

Anyone with information or recognizing the suspect is asked to call investigators at 604-717-4034.

[email protected]


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