Muslim teen thanks transit ‘hero’ who defended her against an alleged racist attack
An 18-year-old Richmond woman is hailing a young man as a “hero” after he stood between her and a Canada Line passenger who allegedly said he would “kill all Muslims” Monday night.
“He’s my hero,” Noor Fadel said of Jake Taylor at a Wednesday news conference.
WATCH: Transit police investigating verbal and physical assault
Fadel boarded the Canada Line at Waterfront Station and sat a few seats away from a man at about 9:30 p.m. on Monday, she wrote on Facebook.
According to Transit Police, the man allegedly started walking toward her and yelling at her.
LISTEN: Talking to the victim and good Samaritan involved in the alleged racist attack against a Muslim woman on the Canada Line
Police said the man spoke in Arabic and allegedly made obscene remarks, using “extremely offensive language.”
The man allegedly told Fadel to go back to her country and that he’d kill all Muslims.
He allegedly grabbed Fadel’s head, forced it toward his crotch and then tried to remove her hijab.
The man allegedly slapped her in the face before a Good Samaritan, later identified as Jake Taylor, placed himself between Fadel and the suspect and pushed him away.
“I went over and I gave him a shove, told him to get the F out of here,” Taylor said.
Fadel and Taylor disembarked at Yaletown Station where she met with Transit Police, who said she was “extremely traumatized” and was having difficulty breathing.
The suspect has been identified as 46-year-old Pierre Belzan, a man of no fixed address.
He was arrested and charged with one count of threatening to cause death or bodily harm and one count of assault. Transit Police have also recommended a charge of sexual assault.
Belzan was arrested in a convenience store without incident after he left the train at Vancouver International Airport.
“We would like to thank and commend the gentleman who intervened in this incident and came to the aid of the woman,” Transit Police said in a news release.
“He put his own safety at risk and stopped what might have become an even more serious situation.”
Taylor, for his part, downplayed his actions, saying “any one of my friends would have done the exact same thing.”
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