‘My wife thought I was going to die’: Dad threatened with knife in Beacon Hill Park speaks out

'My wife thought I was going to die': Dad threatened with knife in Beacon Hill Park speaks out
Watch Victoria dad threatened with a knife in Beacon Hill Park while out for a walk with his wife and baby speaks out.Tess van Straaten reports.

Joseph Liimatta couldn’t wait to take his new wife and six-month-old baby to Beacon Hill Park in Victoria.

But their outing to the popular park on Saturday afternoon took a violent turn.

“I feel very scared, it was a horrible experience,” Joseph’s wife, Laura Liimatta, told CHEK News.

Joseph says a man and woman were doing drugs in the washroom by the playground and blocked him and an elderly couple from using it.

“He just lost it on me, he started swearing, cursing every name in the book at me and said I have mental issues,” Joseph says.

He says the man then came running at him.

“I backed away and he pulled out a knife on me,” Joseph recounts. “My wife was literally screaming ‘murder’ thinking I was going to die.”

The new dad was able to get away and call 911 and police quickly arrested the suspect, who’s now facing numerous charges.

“It’s very concerning, especially when you consider this occurred right near the playground,” says Const. Cam MacIntyre of the Victoria Police Department.

But it’s just the latest in a string of concerning calls at Beacon Hill Park during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve had assaults, we’ve had assaults with weapons so an unacceptable level of violence and an unacceptable amount of notable calls,” MacIntyre says.

Victoria’s mayor agrees.

“It’s terrible this incident happened and I really feel for the family,” Mayor Lisa Helps says. “It’s very difficult, it’s been a terrible time.”

Helps says about 100 homeless campers are in the process of being moved into housing and bylaw enforcement in the park began Saturday, on the May 1st deadline.

“For those who refused to move, bylaw will enforce,” Helps says. “They’ve been impounding, they’ve been ticketing. It takes a lot of time.”

But until the park’s safer, Joseph and Laura say they’re carrying bear spray in their stroller bag.

“It’s a sad state but I’m here to protect my family at the end of the day,” Joseph says.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident and has not yet spoken to police is asked to call VicPD at -250-995-7654 (extension 1) or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Police say they also found evidence of drug trafficking when the searched the suspect and a separate investigation into that is ongoing.

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Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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