Vancouver police are praising the efforts of a group of bystanders who intervened in the city’s latest apparent stranger assault.
According to police, the victim, a 29-year-old woman, was returning home to her apartment near Davie and Howe around 6 p.m. when the suspect followed her into her lobby.
Police say the man threw her to the ground and assaulted her, before the woman was able to break free and run out of the building.
When the suspect followed her outside, a half-dozen bystanders rushed to the woman’s aid, tackling the man and holding him down until police arrived.
“(I) can’t say enough about the courageousness of the victim, can’t say enough about the bravery of the bystanders who got involved, who did the right thing who grabbed this guy and held him until police arrived,” Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison said.
One of those bystanders, a woman who lives in the building and who did not give her name, told Global News she remains shaken by the violent scene.
The bystander said she was coming down the building’s elevator with her roommate when she heard screaming.
“When you live downtown you get used to all sorts of sounds and noises all the time, but this was super, super different. Bone chilling. We knew right away something was wrong,” she said.
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She said when the elevator doors opened at the lobby level they saw flyers and debris scattered around the area and the struggle in progress.
“There was this huge guy on top of this girl, she was on her back and he was laying on top of her,” she said, adding that the following moments were a blur.
“We made it outside, some other people helped us take him down, get him on the ground, hold him down,” she said.
“Super disturbing. I’m still shaking today. It was 24 hours ago and I’m still mortified.”
Vancouver police say the victim in the attack was left shaken, but not seriously hurt.
The suspect, 19-year-old Bryce Michael Flores-Bebington, has been charged with assault and uttering threats to cause death.
Vancouver police said they recommended that he be held in custody, however he was released by the courts with conditions and a promise to appear at an upcoming court date.
Police say they are investigating whether the attack could be connected to other unsolved assaults in the city.