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Suspect dented car before alleged assault in Vancouver’s Chinatown, driver says

Click to play video: 'Driver who encountered suspect before Chinatown attack speaks out' Driver who encountered suspect before Chinatown attack speaks out
The driver who alerted police to a shirtless suspect before he was caught on video striking a mom and toddler in Vancouver's Chinatown says she's very sorry to learn what happened after she encountered the suspect - and says an unprovoked attack on a mother and child creates a ripple effect of safety concerns in the community. Kristen Robinson reports – Jul 23, 2022

A driver says a suspect walking in traffic in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood dented her car before he was allegedly caught on video striking a mother and toddler in Chinatown.

Tami Higo said she almost came to a complete stop while driving along East Cordova Street with a friend on Saturday, July 9, in order to avoid hitting a man who had slowly entered the road near Hawks Avenue.

Click to play video: 'VPD release video of assault on mom and toddler in Vancouver’s Chinatown' VPD release video of assault on mom and toddler in Vancouver’s Chinatown
VPD release video of assault on mom and toddler in Vancouver’s Chinatown – Jul 20, 2022

“He’s right beside the passenger door of my car, so close, and he all of a sudden gives it everything he’s got,” Higo told Global News in an interview on Saturday.

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“He just kicks the passenger door in to the point where there’s quite a large visible dent.”

Higo said she thought about confronting the suspect in the bizarre incident but ultimately decided to pull over and call police instead.

“He just came back to the sidewalk and just walked back up the block like nothing had happened,” Higo recalled.

“I just thought there’s something just not quite right with this guy.”

Minutes later, the suspect was captured on surveillance knocking down a mother and toddler while running down Pender Street in Chinatown.

Read more: Man accused of assaulting Vancouver mom and toddler back in custody

Police said they arrested the suspect moments later on Main Street.

Shakwan David Kelly, 27, was charged with mischief, assault and obstructing a peace officer.

Kelly was released on bail a day later and required to abide by court-ordered conditions including not possessing any weapons and not being intoxicated in public by alcohol or illegal drugs.

While out on bail, Kelly allegedly attacked someone at the Kettle Friendship Society on July 19.

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He is also accused of assaulting two security guards at Vancouver General Hospital one month earlier.

Click to play video: 'Suspect arrested in connection with assault in Vancouver’s Chinatown appears in court' Suspect arrested in connection with assault in Vancouver’s Chinatown appears in court
Suspect arrested in connection with assault in Vancouver’s Chinatown appears in court – Jul 22, 2022

“It is scary. I am sad to hear about these other incidences,” Higo told Global News.

“This is an unfortunate situation with someone who’s unsafe roaming out in the community.”

Global News has learned Kelly is also being investigated in connection with an alleged stranger attack caught on surveillance on a Vancouver bus.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police say on June 20, a suspect boarded at Marine Drive and Main Street and aggressively approached a female passenger, shaking his fist and threatening her before punching her in the head several times and causing her to fall to the ground.

Read more: Man accused of knocking B.C. mom and toddler to the ground appears in court

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When shown video of the suspect in that incident, Higo said he definitely looks familiar and she believes he is the same person she witnessed walking in traffic.

Kelly remains in custody after he was arrested July 21 and the Crown has applied to revoke his bail.

Kelly’s lawyer said her client has “mental health difficulties.”

“I think he deserves to get the help that he needs,” said Higo, a nurse who’s worked in mental health and substance use.

The damage to Higo’s car is still intact and she has yet to get an estimate on the cost of repairs.

While it’s violating and frustrating to deal with damage to property, Higo said she truly hopes the suspect receives help and that the mom and child will recover.

“An unprovoked assault on a mother and child is on another level, and creates a ripple effect of safety concerns in the community,” said Higo.

Click to play video: 'Metro Vancouver Transit Police looking for suspect in unprovoked stranger assault' Metro Vancouver Transit Police looking for suspect in unprovoked stranger assault
Metro Vancouver Transit Police looking for suspect in unprovoked stranger assault – Jul 21, 2022

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