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‘Bright, positive person’: Colleagues identify East Vancouver homicide victim

Click to play video: 'Chinatown stabbing victim identified as talented Vancouver chef'
Chinatown stabbing victim identified as talented Vancouver chef
Vancouver police say 32-year-old Wataru Kakiuchi is the man who died after being stabbed early Wednesday morning. Rumina Daya reports on how friends are remembering the talented chef and musician. – Jun 6, 2024

Co-workers of Vancouver’s latest homicide victim are grieving and in mourning.

Friends and colleagues have identified 32-year-old Japanese national Wataru Kakiuchi as the man who died due to a fatal stab wound on Wednesday.

Kakiuchi was a chef and longtime employee of Hapa Izakaya, a Japanese restaurant in Yaletown.

“(He) was a really bright, positive person,” said Justin Ault, the restaurant’s owner.

“(He) was the type of person no one could dislike.”

Click to play video: '‘Bright, positive person’: Colleagues identify East Vancouver homicide victim'
‘Bright, positive person’: Colleagues identify East Vancouver homicide victim

The restaurant was closed Wednesday evening but was open to staff to provide a place of mourning.

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Ault said he spoke with Vancouver police officers who confirmed it was Kakiuchi who was killed.

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Vancouver police officers responded to a stabbing around 3:30 a.m. on Union Street, just east of Main Street, on the edge of Chinatown.

Officers found Kakiuchi with a stab wound. He died before being taken to hospital.

No arrests have been made and no motive has been released by police.

“When I spoke with VPD, they let me know they had spoken with the Japanese consulate and that his family had been informed of the tragic news,” Ault said.

“He was a great musician, a great cook, a great person and friend. He will be sorely missed.”

The owner said Kakiuchi was out with other co-workers Tuesday night in Gastown and at the end of the night he was supposed to be catching a taxi home to Burnaby.

It is the fourth homicide in Vancouver this year.

Vancouver police confirmed Kakiuchi’s identity later Thursday morning.

Mayor Ken Sim issued a statement regarding the fatal stabbing of Kakiuchi, Thursday as well.

“I want to assure the public that the Vancouver Police Department is working tirelessly to bring the person responsible for this tragedy to justice. The VPD has increased uniformed presence in the neighbourhood,” he said.

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“This senseless act of violence has our city in shock and mourning. On behalf of the City of Vancouver, I extend my deepest condolences to Mr. Kakiuchi’s family, friends, and colleagues. We stand with you in this time of sorrow and grief.”

Police are looking to speak with community members who were in the area between 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.

Anyone with information, including video footage, is asked to contact investigators at 604-717-2500.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver police investigate fatal stabbing in Chinatown neighbourhood'
Vancouver police investigate fatal stabbing in Chinatown neighbourhood

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