VPD investigation leads to arrest in DTES stranger attack

Vancouver, BC – A Vancouver man has been arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault following a VPD investigation into a machete attack outside the Empress Hotel in the city’s Downtown Eastside.

A VPD patrol officer was flagged down June 19 in front of the Empress, after two people were reportedly attacked by a stranger while loading luggage into a waiting taxi. Both victims suffered significant injuries that required hospitalization.

The suspect fled immediately after the attack, and police investigators initially only had a limited description. However, detectives were able to gather significant evidence, including security video of a man fleeing the area after the attack. After releasing that video to the public and asking for tips, a suspect was identified.

Kenneth Stephen Solowan, 37, was arrested Wednesday
Kenneth Stephen Solowan, 37, was arrested Wednesday

Kenneth Stephen Solowan, 37, was arrested Wednesday near Chinatown and has now been charged with two counts of aggravated assault. He is currently in custody and will appear in court on August 17.

Vancouver Police Department

BACKGROUND

VPD investigates series of unprovoked weekend assaults

20 June 2022

Vancouver – Vancouver Police are investigating an unprovoked machete attack in the Downtown Eastside – one of several violent and seemingly random incidents that kept VPD officers busy over the Father’s Day weekend.

A VPD officer was flagged over near the Empress Hotel, at Main and Hastings, around 7 p.m. Sunday for reports of a man wielding a weapon. The officer discovered two people who had been slashed with a machete while loading luggage into a waiting taxi.

The attack left both victims with head and neck wounds that required hospitalization, but both are expected to recover.

The victims told police they did not know the attacker – a heavy-set man in his forties who was wearing a grey t-shirt, a blue raincoat, and carrying an umbrella. He was last seen running south from the crime scene and has not been identified.

The machete attack was one of several seemingly unprovoked weekend incidents now under investigation by VPD. Other incidents of note:

A 27-year-old man reported being stabbed and bear sprayed by a group of six to eight teens around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, while walking near Drake and Seymour Street. The man, who found his own way to hospital, said he was walking out of a lane when attacked by the group for no apparent reason. The victim’s injuries are not life-threatening and the suspects have not been identified. The investigation is ongoing.

A woman was riding a bus from the West End around 6:15 a.m. Saturday when she observed a woman she did not know glaring at her. The victim, 58, got up and moved to a different spot on the bus because she felt uncomfortable, but the suspect followed her. The suspect pursued the victim off the bus at West Pender and Hornby Street, then slapped her in the face for no apparent reason before walking away. The victim called VPD, which is now looking for witnesses and video of the assault.

A man was walking near English Bay around 6 a.m. Sunday when a suspect pulled out a fake pistol and pointed it at him. A bystander called 9-1-1, believing the weapon was real. VPD officers responded and arrested the suspect for pointing a firearm. He was found in possession of an airsoft gun with two loaded magazines. Police believe the suspect had been partying overnight at the beach when he got into a confrontation with a stranger.

A 23-year-old man from Surrey was leaving a concert at Rogers Arena around 11:30 p.m. Sunday when one of the men was confronted by a group of strangers and was stabbed in the abdomen. The victim was taken to hospital and is expected to survive. The suspects fled and have not been located. VPD investigators are working to determine what led to the confrontation and to identify the people involved.

“With the end of Covid restrictions and the start of summer, Vancouver Police expect to see a surge of people coming to the city to enjoy our beaches, parks, shopping, and entertainment,” said Sergeant Steve Addison.

“More people always bring more calls for police service and the potential for increased conflicts. We’ll continue to make public safety our top priority and we encourage people to call 9-1-1 if they see a crime in progress or need help immediately.”

BACKGROUND

VPD investigates Downtown Eastside machete attack

6 July 2022

Vancouver – Vancouver Police are investigating after two people were slashed with a machete outside a Downtown Eastside hotel last month, and are asking anyone with information to call police.

Multiple witnesses flagged down police on June 19 around 7 p.m., after a 49-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman were approached from behind by the suspect and allegedly slashed while loading their luggage into a taxi near Main and East Hastings streets.

“We don’t know if there was a motive for this attack,” says Constable Tania Visintin. “Investigators believe it was completely random and unprovoked, and they want anyone with information to come forward.”

Both victims were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“This week, investigators obtained surveillance video from nearby businesses that captures an image of the suspect,” adds Constable Visintin. “Given the time of day and the location of this incident, we believe there were witnesses who have not yet come forward. We also believe that people will recognize the suspect and can help us identify him.”

Police are looking for a man 40-50-years old who is about 5’10 tall. He was wearing a black long sleeve shirt, grey pants, black sneakers and carrying an umbrella.

Anyone with information is asked to call VPD’s Major Crime Unit at 604-717-2541.

Vancouver Police Department

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