WATCH: A 17-year-old suspect made his first appearance in a Nanaimo courtroom on Friday. The teen is facing charges in connection with what police say was a random stabbing. And as Kendall Hanson, reports the victim in that attack may have been on the street Wednesday night because she had no safe place safe to go.
Sherriffs brought a 17-year-old suspect to the Nanaimo courthouse Friday to face an attempted murder charge.
His identity can’t be revealed because he’s a youth.
He’s accused of stabbing a woman multiple times in downtown Nanaimo Wednesday night.
Police believe the attack was random with no known links between the pair.
The 30-year-old victim was homeless and officials say she may have believed she had no safe place to go Wednesday night.
“That’s very sad to know that that is happening in our community,” said Ronell Bosman, the program director at Samaritan House. “Nobody deserves to be homeless or to be attacked. We find that the combination of mental health and addiction sometimes make people so vulnerable that they are too ill to realize the help they need.”
Samaritan House is Nanaimo’s only downtown women’s shelter.
But lately it’s been at overcapacity every night with women forced to sleep on the floor, and other women in need of help being turned away.
There is also an extreme weather shelter at St. Peter’s Church. It too was also full on Wednesday night, and it will close for the summer after this weekend.
The Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo, which is for men and women, did have a few beds left at its shelter Wednesday night.
Those at Samaritan House say women living on the street right now are extremely vulnerable.
“I think the risk is so big just because of the crime and what’s happening in our city,” said Bosman. “If we can’t accommodate somebody here then, especially if there’s mental health challenges, they are vulnerable. They can’t really protect themselves and a lot of them are afraid to go to our extreme weather shelters because there’s men present. They’re co-ed.”
It’s a difficult situation for a number of women surviving on the street.
The 17-year-old will remain in jail until April 11 when a bail hearing will occur.