Police say they have identified a suspect in a hate-crime assault of a 92-year-old Asian man in Vancouver.
In a release, Vancouver police say they received numerous tips from the public after releasing video and pictures on Wednesday. They are not providing any more information about the suspect at this time.
The assault happened on March 13 near Nanaimo Street and East 1st Avenue.
Police say the 92-year-old victim, who suffers from severe dementia, wandered into a convenience store and the suspect began yelling racist remarks at him, including comments about COVID-19.
Police say once outside the store, the suspect shoved the man, which caused him to fall and hit his head. The suspect then fled before police arrived.
Vancouver police said Wednesday that they have noticed an increase in reports of anti-Asian hate-motivated incidents and criminal behaviour in recent weeks. Police say 11 hate crimes were reported to them in March, five of which had an anti-Asian element.
There have been nine anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police so far this year compared to 12 in all of 2019.
“We know that hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents are generally underreported. We believe the increase in March is indicative of a larger issue,” Const. Tania Visintin said in a release Wednesday.
“Everything about this assault and the behaviour of the suspect is despicable.”
Anyone who has information to share about this crime is asked to call investigators at 604-717-2763 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Investigators will be supplementing the file with tips and information from the public. They will reach out to specific people if they require more information.
Surveillance photos of the suspect provided by Vancouver police: