WARNING: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.
A woman is dead and multiple people were taken to hospital following an apparent random stabbing spree in a busy area of North Vancouver on Saturday afternoon.
It happened around 1:45 p.m. within and outside the Lynn Valley Library, which anchors the Lynn Valley Village shopping area that was packed with shoppers.
One suspect was arrested. Police said the attacker appeared to be acting alone.
Video from the scene appeared to show a man injuring himself with a knife before being taken into custody.
Witnesses told Global News the man began stabbing people inside the library before moving outside.
“I was in the library community room and just outside, suddenly, we hear yelling and everyone stopped and stared, everyone started running out the side door,” Mary Craver, who was attending a book sale at the time, said.
“I just started running too. We ran all the way to the mall.”
Sgt. Frank Jang with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team would not speak to the man’s injuries.
The suspect was known to police and has a criminal record, he added, though his motive remains unclear.
“Obviously, the question is why did this happen. We believe we know the who, the what and the when. It is our job now to determine the why.”
Jang appealed to witnesses and anyone who has video footage of the area at the time to contact police immediately.
He could not speak to the nature or severity of the other victims’ injuries, adding officers had not yet interviewed or identified all of them.
“We were driving up Lynn Valley Road, and there was a woman right beside her car with a seven-year-old boy, multiple stab wounds and bleeding profusely … She said it was a random stabber who was running down the street, so we immediately turned to go look for other victims. There was another 25-year-old woman with multiple stab wounds in the face,” witness Steve Mossop told Global News.
“There were at least six victims we could count within a 50-foot radius, so it was pretty traumatic. We were trying to find our daughter in the area, so it was a bit scary.”
BC Emergency Health Services said it deployed 11 ambulances and two supervisors to the scene. Six people were transported to hospital in unknown condition.
District of North Vancouver Mayor Mike Little issued a statement urging any witnesses to contact the RCMP.
“Lynn Valley and the whole District of North Vancouver is a close-knit, quiet community. An incident like this is deeply upsetting when it happens in the community we love,” Little said.
“Certainly on behalf of residents I send our very best wishes to the victims and their families, who were just out on their regular Saturday business. I appreciate the quick action and excellent teamwork of our first responders, our District Fire and Rescue Services, the RCMP, and our North Shore partners from the City and West Vancouver.”
The Lynn Valley Library said it was closed for the remainder of the day, and staff at the Lynn Valley Village asked people to avoid the area.
Anyone with information or video of the attack is asked to contact North Vancouver RCMP or IHIT, or Crime Stoppers if they wish to remain anonymous.