‘It’s nerve-wracking’: Businesses reopen after fatal stabbing at Victoria’s Douglas Centre


A section of the Douglas Centre Plaza was closed off for 12 hours after a late-night stabbing that left one man dead.

Victoria police were called to the 2900-block of Douglas Street just before midnight on April 9 for a report of a stabbing.

Officers arrived at the scene to find one man suffering stab wounds. Police and paramedics provided emergency medical treatment to the victim, but he succumbed to his injuries. 

“There’s been no arrests so far. We are appealing to any additional witnesses, anyone that was in the area that heard or saw anything that could be helpful to the investigation to please come forward,” said VicPD spokesperson Cst. Terri Healy.

Police believe this is an isolated incident and there is no ongoing risk to community safety.

Blood could be seen in front of Palagoi Pizza, and dozens of investigators were combing through the parking lot. Some officers were also seen nearby at the Crosstown Supportive Housing complex, however, both VicPD and Cool Aid Society, which runs the complex, did not comment on a possible connection.

“It’s still in the early stages of the investigation so I cannot provide any additional details at this time,” said Healy.

Investigators with Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) ask anyone with information about this incident to call the VIIMCU Information Line at 250-380-6211.

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(Investigators are pictured on scene outside Palagio Pizza, Wednesday, April 10, 2024.)

Residents nearby say there have been issues in the plaza.

“It’s nerve-wracking because you know you’re just a stone’s throw away,” said Dorothy Van Allen.

Van Allen was sitting on her porch smoking a cigarette when she heard a loud argument between three people outside of the pizza shop soon before the stabbing.

“He picked up something and threw it at the taxi, and then the taxi left. The guy that was doing all the cussing started walking [away] past the Speedy and the other two people, I’m assuming, went the other way.”

She assumed that it was only an argument until police and paramedics arrived a short time later.

“It’s getting worse, that’s the second stabbing that I know of,” said Van Allen.

Another nearby resident, Shane Lauder, says for the last four years he’s lived near the plaza he’s experienced multiple instances of harassment.

“I was getting harassed just the other morning here when I was getting coffee with my dog, this is like a regular occurrence. Now it’s like a flip of the coin,” said Lauder.

Dozens of businesses closed

Property manager Ken Featherby says around 50 businesses had to shut their doors for half the day, which he says is just one instance of businesses being negatively affected by crime.

“It’s way past time to take the crime and drug issues in our city seriously. The mall spends north of $130,000 a year on security guards and an additional $50,000 cleaning up garbage, defecation, needles, blood and paraphernalia,” he said.

“We have staff start at 6 a.m. daily to ensure the mall is clean before our tenants, staff and customers start arriving. All of these costs are borne by the tenants with no help from any of the authorities that have sat back and watched this happen.”

Featherby says having a night guard would “triple our security costs” and isn’t sure it would help keep businesses safe.

A string of recent stabbings

This is the third stabbing and second fatal stabbing in Victoria over the last month.

On March 19, someone was stabbed in the 1200-block of Douglas Street.

Victoria police say “multiple officers” responded to the scene around 12:30 p.m. after one person was stabbed by the McDonald’s at the corner of Douglas and View streets.

On March 31, police were called to the 700-block of Pandora Avenue around 4 a.m. following a report of a stabbing.

According to Victoria Police, officers arrived at the scene to find one deceased male and another victim, who was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Some residents and businesses have voiced concerns over safety in Victoria as police investigate multiple stabbings in the downtown area.

“This is really, really concerning,” Victoria resident Nabil Bennett said. “This kind of activity is really uncharacteristic of Victoria.”

VicPD says this stabbing has no connection to the other recent string of attacks.

“We do have incidents of violence involving knives in our communities of Victoria and Esquimalt, but we’re not seeing a marked increase over the past three or four years,” said Healy.

READ MORE: Safety concerns on the rise in Victoria’s downtown after two stabbings in as many weeks

Earlier this month, Norman Cantin with John’s Place Restaurant said he’d noticed a spike in violence in the area.

“There’s definitely been a spike in incidents. Definitely starting to notice a little more things around downtown,” Cantin explained.

He added these incidents are making the downtown core an undesirable place to visit and work.

“I’m very worried about my staff, very worried about our customers,” Cantin said. “We are so busy on weekends people have to stand outside to wait, and we don’t want to make that not easy for them.”

On April 1, Mayor Marianne Alto said these violent incidents are very concerning but not the reality day-to-day.

She said as a city grows and becomes more dense, an increase in crime typically follows, adding that while this is concerning, the downtown core is a safe place.

“We have significant confidence in our police service and in the other organizations that are responding, not just to incidents like this in a response base, but in dealing with some of the issues that often lead to them,” Alto said.

She added the city is working with police on a variety of different measures, which should be released to the public soon.

Keith Vass
Mackenzie Read

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