Police release video of violent, unprovoked attack on homeless man in Vancouver

Published Aug. 25, 2021 2:25 p.m. ET
Updated Aug. 25, 2021 10:04 p.m. ET

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Warning: The bystander video provided by police is graphic and disturbing.

VANCOUVER -- Police are investigating a violent and unprovoked attack on a homeless man that was caught on camera in Vancouver's Yaletown neighbourhood.

On Wednesday, authorities released a bystander’s video of the disturbing assault, which took place on Hamilton Street at around 1 a.m. on July 26.

The video begins with a group of men arguing on the street. Police believe they know each other.

When a homeless man walks by the group, a suspect swats him in the head, chases him down the sidewalk and pushes him to the ground. The video then shows the victim being repeatedly kicked until another man intervenes and pulls the suspect away.

“This must have been terrifying for the victim, who is already vulnerable and did not deserve to be treated this way,” said Sgt. Steve Addison in a news release. “We owe it to him to solve this crime and we’re asking anyone with information to give us a call.”

Police are asking the public to look at the video as they try to track down the suspect.

“We’re confident someone knows these people and can help us solve this crime,” Addison said.

The video is particularly concerning for groups like the Union Gospel Mission.

“To see someone chase him down and just beat him so needlessly, senselessly,” said Nadia Tchoumi, a spokesperson for UGM. “Anyone who sees this video and is experiencing homelessness is going to be wondering if they’re going to be the next victim."

She wanted anyone in that situation to know there are people who care about them.

Visitors to Yaletown were also appalled by the video.

“It’s just really sad. I feel really bad for the homeless person,” said Veronica Wang.

“ I think it’s really horrible to take their anger out on a helpless homeless person,” added Josh Dillman.

There have been more than a dozen random stranger attacks in Vancouver this summer, including in July when a man was assaulted while walking home on Granville Street.

“We don’t understand why this is happening,” said Addison.

Police believe alcohol may have played a role in the attack in Yaletown.

Police said the suspect is believed to be in his 20s, may wear glasses, and has an above-average build and a medium skin tone. The man was last seen walking away from the crime scene in the company of other men.

Anyone with information is asked to call a tip line at 604-717-4022.

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