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Mother fears for son’s safety after assault in Kelowna park

Click to play video: 'Safety concerns loom after random attack on West Kelowna teen'
Safety concerns loom after random attack on West Kelowna teen
The mother of a West Kelowna teen is hoping for justice after her son was assaulted near Shannon Lake and taken to hospital. The teenager says he was just hanging out with friends and the attack was entirely unprovoked. Jayden Wasney reports. – Jul 9, 2022

A West Kelowna mother says she fears for her son’s safety after he was assaulted at a park in the early-morning hours of July 5.

Sixteen-year-old Taylor Lanz says he and two of his friends were sitting in Kinsman Athletic Park, listening to music and catching up. Later that evening, two male occupants of a white Dodge Ram began yelling at them.

The truck proceeded to drive away, but then the driver reversed and entered the parking lot. That’s when Taylor says the two men began approaching them.

Read more: West Kelowna RCMP investigating overnight assault on teen

“His friends ran some distance and hid in some bushes, Taylor didn’t quite run far enough, he was confused,” said Taylor’s mother Salinna Ossevorth.

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Although Taylor did what he could to try and avoid the pair, they found him hiding underneath a tree. That’s when the teen says he was attacked. Ossevorth says her son suffered a broken nose, cuts to his face and bruises across his back.

Read more: Charges laid after assault at West Kelowna restaurant: RCMP

“I feel like our neighbourhood is safe, or I thought it was safe,” said Ossevorth. “It’s hard to sleep at night knowing someone hurt my son like that.”

Police are searching for two bearded men driving the white Dodge pickup truck, but they’d also like to speak with the people in a red hatchback car who were in the area at the same time.

Ossevorth says she’s keeping a closer eye on her son following the attack.

Read more: West Kelowna says crash cost $35K in damage, public help sought in finding driver

“I told him no more going out at night, no more walking home, or being dropped off at friends’ homes,” explained Ossevorth.

Taylor is slowly recovering from his injuries, but he’s left wondering why anyone would want to go after him and his friends like that.

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“I would never expect anything to happen like this in this area.”

Read more: Accused South Okanagan shooter apprehended: RCMP

Despite the horrific experience, there was one shining moment. Two complete strangers stopped to help Lanz while he sat on the ground awaiting paramedics.

“It was wonderful that someone stopped to actually help my boy and waited with him while he was scared and hurt and covered in blood and kept him feeling safe in that time,” said Ossevorth.

Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.

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