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Man charged after ‘unprovoked attack’ on senior at Edmonton LRT station

Click to play video: 'Edmonton man faces charges in unprovoked LRT attack' Edmonton man faces charges in unprovoked LRT attack
WATCH: A man is facing charges and a senior is recovering in hospital, after an unprovoked attack at an LRT station in south Edmonton. Sarah Komadina has more – Apr 27, 2022

Edmonton police have arrested a suspect after an elderly woman was pushed from the Jubilee LRT platform onto the tracks on Monday.

Ram Mudalier spoke to Global News and identified his sister Sharda Devi Naidu as the victim.

Read more: Troubled Transit: State of Edmonton’s LRT system frustrates, shocks riders

Police said she had been standing on the LRT platform at 83 Avenue and 114 Street waiting for a train when the man “unexpectedly ran up and pushed the female off the platform onto the LRT tracks.”

“She was waiting after her shift, she was waiting at the station to get a ride back (home),” Mudalier said. “All of a sudden, she got punched in the back and (was) pushed… and she flew and landed on the rails, the tracks.

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“When she hit — her legs hit the rail. (It) shattered her leg and she fainted.”

Mudalier said that LRT officials stopped the train service to help his sister.

Police said she suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to hospital by EMS, where Mudalier said she remains.

Sharda Devi Naidu (L), identified by her family as the victim of a violent LRT assault in Edmonton on April 25, 2022. Supplied to Global News

Police said they had arrested a man in relation to the incident on Tuesday evening, with the assistance of transit security and transit peace officers.

Police say the suspect did not know the victim and said it was “a violent, unprovoked assault on a senior.”

On Wednesday, police said the suspect was arrested after a report of an attack with a weapon on a 53-year-old man at Churchill LRT station.

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The attack was captured on surveillance video and peace officers were able to locate the suspect when they arrived on scene.

According to the news release, officers recognized the man and said he was the same one connected to the attack on Naidu.

Jubilee LRT
Edmonton police look for suspect after an elderly woman was pushed from the platform at Jubilee LRT station and onto the tracks. Courtesy: Edmonton police

Mudalier said that his sister works at the University of Alberta Hospital and regularly uses transit to get home to the northeast end of the city.

He says his family feels let down by the situation, as well as the lack of safety and the “very few security people, if any at all, in the LRT stations.”

Read more: Edmonton mom concerned by response to LRT safety concern

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On Wednesday, the mayor called the attack “terrifying” and “really disturbing,” and said his heart goes out to the victim and her family.

“That is why we are increasing more police presence on the LRT system,” Amarjeet Sohi said. “We have also allocated more resources for transit security officers and we are hiring more social workers to be on the transit system to direct people who are having social issues to be linked to social services. We will be hiring more security officers as well.”

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However, Sohi stressed the underlying causes are social issues, which are provincial responsibilities.

“The LRT problems are a symptom of a bigger problem that we’re facing in our city — that is lack of support for people who are experiencing houselessnes, people that are experiencing addictions, people who are experiencing mental health challenges.

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Read more: City of Edmonton launching transit safety pilot project with police, Indigenous community

“This is something that we have been having conversations with the provincial government about. We need to invest more in supportive housing, permanent housing, with health and mental health services, we need to deal with the addictions crisis we’re facing in our city, and those are the province’s responsibilities.

“Unfortunately the province has not stepped up to provide us necessary support but we’ll continue to follow up with them to do what they need to do,” Sohi said.

“But in the meantime, we have real challenges and these real challenges are creating unsafe conditions on the public transit system. So we are taking interim steps but those are kind of Band-Aid solutions.”

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Kendall Raine, 20, is facing one count each of assault with and possession of a weapon for the incident at Churchill LRT station and one count of aggravated assault in relation to the Jubilee incident.

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– With files from Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED

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