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‘I’ve been attacked:’ Witnesses to deadly stabbing rampage in North Vancouver recall horror


‘I’ve been attacked:’ Witnesses to deadly stabbing rampage in North Vancouver recall horror

VANCOUVER—The suspect walked to the middle of the intersection, spat on the ground, then turned to police.

He made a quick movement with his knife before collapsing to the ground, face first.

“He just cut himself!” someone shouted in the background. “I’m going for the knife!”

An officer kicked an object away from the suspect, then trained his rifle on the man while yelling, “Show me your hands!”

Another half-dozen officers swooped in to make the arrest.

The dramatic takedown, captured on video by multiple bystanders, brought to an end a deadly stabbing rampage Saturday that played out in front of horrified people who had been enjoying a spring day at a crowded shopping and library complex in the District of North Vancouver.

Six people were wounded and one woman in her late 20s was killed in the knife attack, which started around 1:40 p.m. in Lynn Valley Village, a busy pedestrian-only community hub featuring a public library, coffee shop and other small businesses nestled in a lush, forested part of Metro Vancouver.

A man named Yannick Bandaogo, 28, has been charged with second-degree murder, according to RCMP.

“His background, history in B.C. and relationship to the victims, if any, is still being determined,” Sgt. Frank Jang of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Sunday in a news release.

Jang said the suspect had undergone surgery for self-inflicted wounds and was in police custody.

Steve Mossop, who lives in the neighbourhood, said he was driving home with his partner when he saw a woman standing on the sidewalk outside a restaurant, Browns Socialhouse, covered in blood and waving her arms.

As he pulled over to assist, Mossop said his partner glimpsed a man — believed to be the suspect — running away from the scene holding what she initially thought was an umbrella.

“I’ve been attacked,” the woman told them. Her young son, about six or seven, stood next to her visibly traumatized, Mossop said.

“We ushered her into the restaurant. A whole bunch of waiters came out and had a spot for her to sit right by the foyer. This poor kid…was quite confused about what was happening.”

Satisfied the woman was in good hands, Mossop left the restaurant only to discover another stabbing victim a few metres away sitting against a fence.

The woman, in her 20s, appeared to have multiple stab wounds, including to her face, he said. Another bystander had taken off his shirt and was applying pressure to her wounds. Mossop said he ran to his car and grabbed a beach towel.

She was coherent and talking, he said.

All around the village, people tending to other victims were calling for help and trying to draw the attention of first responders, Mossop said.

Before he realized the suspect had been apprehended, Mossop and his partner ran around to area businesses alerting them there was someone in the area with a knife. They were also frantically trying to get a hold of his 14-year-old stepdaughter who was supposed to be in the area.

“There was a lot of people with phones trying to record stuff, a lot of chaos, a lot of yelling. The fear that was there for us was: How many victims are there?” he said.

“The scary part was we’re looking for victims and hoping it wouldn’t be her.” (Mossop said he finally connected with his stepdaughter after about 10 minutes and confirmed she had already left the area and was safe.)

Shannon Paterson, a CTV journalist, was on her way to Dairy Queen with her 17-year-old daughter to pick up a cake for her son’s birthday when she came across the crime scene.

She said she spoke to a sobbing woman who said someone had been stabbed across the street.

“I looked at the police presence and thought, ‘No, this is bigger than that.’ ”

So, she crossed the street to see what more she could learn. Within a matter of two or three minutes, she counted six victims in and around the village complex.

“Everywhere I looked there was another victim. There were people tended to by first responders. Many appeared to have stab wounds to the head.”

The first victim she saw was a young woman in sneakers and wearing a green scarf sitting against a fence — the same woman Mossop had brought a towel to. Her head was now wrapped in bandages.

The next victim Paterson came across was a woman in a blue jacket outside Delany’s Coffee House, also with apparent wounds to her head and being tended to by police and paramedics.

Nearby were the doors leading to the library.

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“I walked in those doors to the library and saw an elderly man who was sitting upright in a stretcher. His shirt was off and he was covered in blood. He appeared to have a head wound as well.”

Paterson turned around to see yet another victim sitting on the floor in the area of the used book sale.

When she went back outside onto Lynn Valley Road, she said she saw a Porsche SUV parked outside the book drop-off zone. A woman in the passenger seat was being treated for apparent head wounds.

Shortly after, she saw a woman being wheeled out on a stretcher from Browns Socialhouse.

“It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.”

Paterson’s daughter eventually learned one of the victims was a favourite high school teacher.

“She just burst into tears,” Paterson said.

On social media Sunday, the identities of some of the stabbing victims began to emerge.

One of the victims was identified by family as Sheloah Klausen, a teacher at a local high school, Argyle Secondary School.

“My sister is alive,” Leah Carol Michayluk wrote in a Facebook post, along with a picture of Klausen, who appeared to be smiling while wearing a head bandage and mask. “Love you so much Sheloah Klausen.”

Michayluk had previously posted that her sister was stabbed in the Lynn Valley attack.

Another North Vancouver community member, Jini Segulam Singh-Henderson, posted in a private Facebook group for the North Vancouver community that her daughter was one of the people attacked. She wrote that her daughter, in her 20s, had been rushed to the hospital by paramedics and that a member of the public had helped her by calling her family.

“I don’t mind sharing now that one of my daughters was a victim of the knife assault,” Singh-Henderson wrote. “The paramedics rushed her to (Vancouver General Hospital) and she is going to be OK…Most sincere thanks to everyone who aided my girl today.”

On Sunday morning, investigators were still on the scene and the entire village complex remained roped off by police tape.

A makeshift vigil outside of the library continued to grow despite a relentless downpour. Local residents, many of them parents with young children in tow, laid flower bouquets and cards before walking away. One sign above the vigil said “Lynn Valley Strong.”

Some passersby choked back tears from underneath their face masks.

Erika Hogan, the mother of a student at Argyle Secondary School, was among those leaving flowers. She said the impact of the stabbing will affect more than just those who attend the school.

“So many people have been traumatized by it,” Hogan said. “I wasn’t with my kids when I heard about it and I knew they were in the community somewhere, so it was really scary for a couple of hours not to know where they were.”

District of North Vancouver Mayor Mike Little sought refuge from the downpour under an awning nearby.

Little said he would usually give out about 400 summer reading club medals to children each year right where Saturday’s incident unfolded.

He wouldn’t speculate on what may have motivated the man who is suspected of turning this quiet corner of metro Vancouver into the scene of tragedy.

“We’re really focused at this point on the victims themselves and their families and making sure that they’re properly supported,” Little said.

It’s important for people who may be feeling psychological effects for the incident to make sure they don’t let it fester, he added.

“The stress from a traumatic incident like this can manifest over days following an incident like this and it’s just so important for people to talk about it,” said Little. “I would encourage anybody who witnessed it or feels a heavy heart because they’re hearing too much negative news these days to get help, talk to people.”

A statement early Sunday from the district said no library staff were wounded during the attack and the library will remain closed until further notice.

In a Twitter post over the weekend, Jang, the police spokesperson, wrote that North Vancouver was where he’d been posted when he became a Mountie 17 years ago.

“Worked as a youth officer in Lynn Valley. Times like this, Mr. Rogers would say find the helpers. That’s what I’ll tell my kids tonight. And there certainly were helpers today.”

With files from Alex McKeen

Douglas Quan is a Vancouver-based reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @dougquan

Jeremy Nuttall is a Vancouver-based investigative reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @Nuttallreports

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