A married couple in their 60s began their Sunday morning just like any other — breakfast and deciding on their plans.
Global News is not revealing their names or identities to protect their safety.
“We think, OK, because it’s a festival (with) lots of people and it’s crowded, so we will be safe,” the husband told Global News.
They were actually going to leave earlier but heard that there was going to be a singer they wanted to see perform at 5 p.m.
“Unfortunately, we stayed,” he said.
The stabbing took place around 6 p.m.
His wife told Global News that just at the end of the program, that’s when the attack took place with a young woman in her 20s, who was nearby, getting attacked first.
Her husband said the young woman yelled out something in Chinese.
Then before he knew what was happening, his wife said “what happened?” as she had just been stabbed in the back.
“And then I turn around. I think that at that time, the guy was trying to attack me on the back too, that’s why, when I turned around he missed my back and got me on my arm,” he said.
“Also, I think, I’m not sure, he tried to stab me in my chest too.”
He said when he tried to stand back up, he said the suspect tried to stab him again. He tried to kick him but he fell and hurt his knee and that was when the suspect ran away.
On Monday, Vancouver police Chief Const. Adam Palmer said Blair Evan Donnelly was out on a day pass when he stabbed three people in an unprovoked attack at the Chinatown festival.
Donnelly, 64, was on a pass from the psychiatric hospital, Colony Farm, where he has been since he was found not criminally responsible for the second-degree murder of his daughter in Kitimat in 2006.
The wife of the couple attacked said she didn’t know anything had happened until she felt something painful in her back.
“At that time, I touch my back, I feel wet,” she said, “so I thought maybe I got injured.”
Her husband said he was going to try and chase the suspect but he saw his wife was bleeding so he stopped to put pressure on her back wound to stop the bleeding.
“At the beginning, I just feel that someone hit behind me and I feel something, but I don’t know what hit me,” his wife said.
“You feel that something is hitting you. But when I stand up and (the suspect is) not just in front of me, I don’t know.”
Vancouver police officers were quick to come to the trio’s aid, administering first aid until an ambulance arrived.
It is unclear what they were stabbed with but the wife thinks it was a metal file. That has not been confirmed by police.
The couple were not even sure a young woman had also been struck until the police grouped the three of them together.
“I’m feeling scared and (in shock),” the wife said. “I just keep looking (for the) man wearing the red shirt as I’m worried he might do (something) to somebody else.”
She said the man never said anything to them before or during the attack.
She also questioned as to why Donnelly was out on a day pass unescorted.
British Columbia Premier David Eby said Tuesday he is “white-hot” angry over what happened in Chinatown.
Eby said the decision to release the man boggles the mind and he wants to get to the bottom of how it occurred.
He said the government “will ensure an independent person looks into the specifics of this case. The decision-making process. How we arrived at this awful place.”
That work on that was “already underway,” he added.
However, the husband involved in this case said he thinks the justice system is totally broken.
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“I’m worried that he might do (this to) somebody else,” his wife added.
They would like to see more monitoring of violent offenders and while Donnelly could be granted escorted day passes, the couple said the system has to change.
“The priority is thinking about community (safety) first and the people around,” he said.
The couple said they now worry about going out and what could have happened if Donnelly had a longer, sharper weapon.
“Even yesterday, we went to the police to (file a) report and then I went to (the mall) and I was still scared as people (were) all around me,” the wife said.
Her husband said he also is wary of people now, watching their hands to see if they are holding anything or see what they are doing.
“I never had that feeling before.”