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Man stabbed over social distancing dispute in Nanaimo, B.C., speaks out

Click to play video: 'Nanaimo father stabbed in parking lot over physical distancing dispute' Nanaimo father stabbed in parking lot over physical distancing dispute
A 50-year-old Nanaimo man was stabbed in a parking lot after his daughter asked another man to keep his distance. Kylie Stanton reports – Feb 25, 2021

One man has been arrested and another is recovering from several stab wounds after an altercation over physical distancing turned violent in Nanaimo, B.C. on Wednesday.

Nanaimo RCMP said it happened around 6 p.m. outside the Port Place Mall.

Kurt Lascheit and his wife Christine Whitehouse told Global News they had just had dinner and were chatting with their daughter, her husband and their kids outside the Dollarama when an un-masked man walked by and pushed their daughter into a parked car.

Read more: Kelowna, B.C., woman arrested after COVID-19 mask dispute at Value Village

“So my daughter turned around and said, ‘Hey sir, social distancing, six feet,’ and the guy turned around and gave her the finger and said eff-you,'” Whitehouse said.

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When Lascheit confronted the man, things escalated, she said.

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“I said Kurt, ‘Just leave it alone, come back,’ and right when I said that the guy smashed him in the face with his coffee cup.'”

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“It seemed like he just wanted to pick a fight,” Lascheit said. “He had 10 feet to walk around us.”

A fight is exactly what happened, as the two men came to blows and grappled into the front of a nearby business.

Read more: ‘Abusive’ B.C. ferry passengers arrested, fined $920 for refusal to mask up

Whitehouse and the couple’s son-in-law joined in the scuffle to try and break it up, when she said Lascheit realized he’d been stabbed and other man stood up holding a knife.

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After a brief standoff and as a crowd of bystanders began to form and call 911, the man fled, she said.

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“I was very upset it happened in front of my grandchildren. After it happened my grandchildren asked if they were going to get stabbed too, so that kind of broke my heart.”

Nanaimo RCMP said the man was located about an hour later on Gabriola Island and arrested for assault with a weapon.

At the hospital, Lascheit said doctors told him he was lucky he escaped without serious injuries.

Read more: Man allegedly punched restaurant staff, bit patron after refusing to wear a mask: Victoria police

“He said ‘go buy a lottery ticket because you’re a lucky boy tonight. If that had gone any deeper you’d be in the hospital for sure with a punctured lung.'”

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In retrospect, Lascheit said, he could have simply not engaged with the other man, but he said his alleged attacker’s belligerent attitude pushed him to respond.

“It was all over a social distancing issue, which just shouldn’t have happened,” said Whitehouse.

RCMP say the suspect is due to appear in court in May.

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