UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP have reported that the 39-year-old suspect of an assault with an axe has been arrested, is in custody and will appear for a bail hearing in provincial court in Nanaimo later today, Feb. 6.
PREVIOUSLY POSTED: A man is recovering in hospital after he was struck in the head with an axe in downtown Nanaimo.
The assault happened Saturday, Feb. 4, at about 5 p.m., at a bus stop on Front Street near Port Place shopping centre.
“Members responded, they found an individual, who was conscious and breathing, with a head injury,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “Witnesses reported that two individuals had gotten into an argument. One individual pulled out an axe, struck the other individual with the blunt end of the axe in the back of the head and the suspect took off running.”
The 30-year-old victim was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. At one point, it was thought he might have to be airlifted to Vancouver or Victoria, but his injury turned out to be treatable at NRGH where he is recovering.
O’Brien said the victim and the 39-year-old suspect, both of whom are marginalized, unhoused individuals, are known to each other and the incident was witnessed by several people.
RCMP brought a police dog to the scene, but were unable to find the suspect or the axe. O’Brien said police know who the suspect is and expect to make an arrest soon.
“We know we’ve had some incidents involving violence in the last little while,” he said. “Our members are continuing to have zero tolerance to violence in our community and are working with outreach teams and other community partners to ensure the safety of everybody in our city.”
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