Police say a pregnant woman is stable after a person in clear mental distress threw a brick at her in downtown Nanaimo on Monday.
The “extremely disturbing” incident happened on Commercial Street near Museum Way at around 3:30 p.m., according to Nanaimo RCMP.
According to witnesses, the suspect was experiencing a mental health crisis, prompting several passersby to try to calm them down.
The person’s behaviour escalated again and they eventually walked toward a pregnant mother and her four-year-old daughter walking along Commercial Street.
According to police, the individual picked up a concrete brick from the ground and attempted to throw it at the young girl from three feet away.
The mother, who is in her third trimester, jumped in to block the projectile and was struck in her stomach, investigators say.
She was taken to hospital by ambulance and while her exact condition isn’t known, police described her status as stable. Her four-year-old daughter was deeply shaken by the incident, according to RCMP.
A social media post that appears to have been written by the victim says she first pleaded with the suspect not to throw the brick at her car.
“I was so scared for the baby and I am so glad that my baby is okay,” she wrote, adding that her daughter was “completely traumatized” by the incident.
A security guard who was downtown saw the incident and “took control of the individual” until Mounties arrived at the scene, police said.
The suspect is known to police and has “definite mental health issues,” Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Gary O’Brien said.
“It’s very disturbing, very troubling, absolutely. Not only for a lot of people who aren’t familiar with mental health issues, it’s very disturbing for [bystanders] not knowing how to react,” he said.
The suspect is facing a charge of assault with a weapon and remained in custody Tuesday, O’Brien said.