Vancouver police have arrested two men accused of posing as police officers and violently attacking an elderly woman in her home last weekend, who has since died of her injuries.
Police said Wednesday the two suspects were arrested Tuesday, the same day 78-year-old Usha Singh died in hospital.
Court records now show 41-year-old Pascal Bouthillette has been charged with murder while Sandy Parisian, 47, faces a manslaughter charge in connection to Singh’s death. Both charges were sworn against the men on Wednesday.
“This was a tragic and senseless crime that cost an innocent woman her life, and struck fear and anxiety in the community,” spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison said in a statement.
“Vancouver is still a safe city, and thankfully incidents like this are rare. We hope these arrests begin to restore a sense of calm and safety.”
The incident is now Vancouver’s second homicide of 2021.
Singh was found gravely injured in her home near Queen Elizabeth Park on the city’s west side Sunday morning after a friend called police to conduct a wellness check. Investigators believe she had been left helpless inside for hours.
Police have said Singh, who lives alone, let two men who she was led to believe were police officers inside her home where she was attacked.
Investigators would not reveal more information about why Singh thought the men were officers, or any other evidence that would help the public identify the suspects.
Addison would not give further information on the attack itself Wednesday and did not provide details on whether either suspect had connections to Singh, as the case is now before the courts.
Police said Parisian — who was also wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for unrelated offences — was arrested Tuesday near Strathcona Park by a police canine unit and other officers.
Parisian suffered a “serious but non-life-threatening” injury during the arrest and was treated in hospital before being taken to jail, police said. The Independent Investigations Office, B.C.’s police watchdog, is investigating that incident.
Bouthillette was arrested Tuesday evening near Main Street and Terminal Avenue.
Police said multiple search warrants were executed Tuesday night in relation to the investigation, including in Strathcona Park, and evidence is still being gathered. Addison later told reporters it’s believed Parisian is a resident of the homeless encampment in the park and lived in a tent there.
He added several other residents of the park were “hostile” towards the officers executing the search warrant and created a “volatile” situation, prompting those officers to call for backup from across the city.
Both suspects have extensive criminal records and have been convicted on multiple offences over the past five years, court records show, including assault with a weapon and breaking and entering. Bouthillette alone has been found guilty of multiple counts of theft, drug possession and breach of probation in addition to other crimes.
A court date has not yet been set for either Bouthillette or Parisian.
Investigators are still asking anyone with information about the attack that led to Singh’s death to contact Vancouver police or Crime Stoppers.