Teen charged after 3 people attacked 'for no reason' on Vancouver seawall, police say

Vancouver police say a teen was arrested and charged in connection to three alleged attacks on Vancouver's seawall over the weekend.

Police were called at about 9:15 p.m. Saturday after a 57-year-old was reportedly chased along the seawall near Olympic Village by a teen, then repeatedly punched and kicked.

While officers were looking for a suspect, they found two other alleged victims, who "had also been punched for no reason."

Investigators said they identified and arrested a 15-year-old boy who was still in the area. He was charged with three counts of assault and has since been released.

Police called the assaults "seemingly random and unprovoked," adding they were "among several violent crimes" reported over the weekend.

Another incident described by police involved a teen being assaulted and bear sprayed by a stranger at Leeside Skatepark, near Empire Field. The suspect stole the teen's skateboard, police said, adding that the victim and the suspect didn't know each other.

"This level of violence in a single weekend is concerning, especially when the incidents involve stranger-on-stranger attacks and weapons like knives, bear spray and other make-shift weapons," said Sgt. Steve Addison in a news release.

Vancouver police have consistently warned of a rise in violent crime, saying it increased by 7.1 per cent in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, Professor Martin Andresen, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University, suggested these statistics may simply be political tactic and that they don't always share the whole story of crime in the city. 

"Who are these people who are in our communities committing these assaults? Are these people who are not getting the social services they need? Are they in mental health crisis? Are they in addiction crisis?" Andresen asked.

In an interview with CTV News Vancouver, Addison said the feeling of safety in a community is also important.

"You can't ignore the feeling in the community, that people are telling us that they feel less safe than they used to," he said last month. "Crime statistics, they have a role to play, but they're not the be-all-end-all."

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Lisa Steacy