Victoria police are seeking witnesses after a senior was stabbed in James Bay on Monday evening.
Police say the victim, a 67-year-old man, was in a designated smoking area in the 400-block of Michigan Street when he was approached by another man asking for money around 7:30 p.m.
The victim told the man that he had no money, at which point the suspect “struck the victim with a large knife on his hand and face,” according to VicPD.
The suspect then fled the area on foot.
Investigators are now asking any witnesses to come forward, particularly a woman who checked on the victim after the attack. The woman is described as standing 5’11” and was “nicely dressed.” Police are hoping to speak with this woman who may be able to help them with their investigation.
The violent incident has sparked renewed concerns for safety for those living in one of the oldest residential neighbourhoods on the West Coast.
“James Bay has been undergoing this kind of thing for the last four years now as the camping becomes more and more entrenched,” said Victoria Coun. Marg Gardiner.
The stabbing occurred on the same block where roughly five to 10 unhoused people have set up camp at Irving Park, but those sheltering there say it wasn’t them.
“Guaranteed not. Because we’re a pretty tight-knit community and we don’t put up with stuff like that,” said camper Irvine Graham.
This week, Victoria council moved one step closer to banning sheltering in four city parks. Irving Park was not one of them.
Gardiner says that unlike Stadacona and Topaz parks, which were recently redone, Irving Park’s renovations have been put off.
“For councillors to use that as a rationale to further entrench camping, I find just, unfathomable,” said Gardiner.
Victoria’s mayor says this is just the beginning of a concerted effort to narrow the places where people can shelter in parks.
“There’s no doubt that parks need to be for everyone. At the moment, we’re required to provide some space for sheltering. We will eventually move, I hope, towards a place where that is no longer necessary,” said Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto.
The 67-year-old victim was taken to hospital and was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to VicPD.
Anyone with information on the attack is asked to call the E-Comm Report Desk at (250) 995-7654 extension 1.
Tips can also be sent to Crime Stoppers Anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 or online.