Man pleads guilty to aggravated assault in Downtown Eastside machete attack

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Man pleads guilty to aggravated assault in machete attack
A man pleaded guilty Friday in a machete attack last year. The stranger assault nearly decapitated a woman visiting Vancouver. As Alissa Thibault reports, the victim finally feels she can now move on. – Dec 8, 2023

The man accused of slashing two people with a machete in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside last year pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault in court on Friday.

Kenneth Solowan was arrested last August in connection with the grisly attack in front of the Empress Hotel on June 19, 2022. Police said he cut two people with the machete on Main and East Hastings streets as they loaded luggage into a taxi.

In an emailed statement, one of his victims thanked everyone for their support in the aftermath of the attack. She and another 49-year-old man sustained head and neck wounds that required hospitalization.

An image of the wounds a woman sustained during an unprompted machete attack in Vancouver on June 19, 2022. Submitted

“It’s been a very long fight,” Casey Janulis told Global News. “I feel like I can actually close the book and start a new chapter, I’ve been longing for closure for a long time.

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“It feels beautiful to finally have peace for my friends and my family. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I can now start all over again safely and securely.”

Click to play video: 'Suspect charged in Granville Street SRO machete attack'
Suspect charged in Granville Street SRO machete attack

Last fall, Solowan was the subject of a provincewide warrant after he disappeared from a residential treatment facility in Surrey, where he was ordered to live.

He was remanded in custody after his August 2022 arrest and released on bail at the end of September, but police reported he was missing on Oct. 7, 2022. Solowan was rearrested in Mission on Oct. 11, 2022, and was not granted bail again.

He had also failed to return to a halfway house in Vancouver in 2014, and was wanted as a “high risk offender,” but arrested on Oct. 7 that year.

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Click to play video: 'Vancouver mayor responds to Granville Street machete attack'
Vancouver mayor responds to Granville Street machete attack

The two victims of the June 2022 machete attack told police they did not know the attacker, whom they described as a heavy-set man in his forties wearing a grey t-shirt, a blue raincoat, and carrying an umbrella.

Detectives were able to gather significant evidence in the case, including security video of the man fleeing the area after the attack. After releasing that video to the public and asking for tips, a suspect was identified.

— with files from Simon Little

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