October 15, 2021

-Global News

A suspect is in custody in relation to the random attacks on four men in downtown Calgary early Friday morning.

Just after 3:15 a.m., police said a man called for help from the 4 Street CTrain Station, saying he had been slashed by a machete. He was taken to hospital in serious condition, according to police.

About half an hour later, police said a second man was found unconscious in a bus shelter on 6 Avenue and 1 Street S.W. The nature of his injuries were not provided, but the Calgary Police Service said he was taken to hospital in life-threatening condition.

Both of those men had undergone surgery by 2:30 p.m. Friday, and were recovering in hospital, Supt. Cliff O’Brien said.

At around 4 a.m., another man was found in the 1000 block of 6 Avenue S.W. Police said he was knocked unconscious and woke up a short time later. The man suffered minor injuries but did not need to be taken to hospital.

A fourth victim was identified later on Friday, located near the downtown side of the Peace Bridge, with injuries to his hand. He was taken to hospital and eventually released, O’Brien said.

O’Brien would not say whether all four people were attacked with a machete.

The ages of the victims were not released by police.

“We continue to believe these attacks were random and we have not identified a clear motive,” O’Brien said Friday afternoon.

“There is no common theme among the victims that investigators have zeroed in on at this time.”

Closures in the area, including the transit system and roads, were lifted at about noon, O’Brien said, adding that officers believed no other attacks were going to happen.

When asked why no alert was sent to the public in the midst of the attacks, O’Brien pointed to the fact that at the time the incidents were being reported, there weren’t indications they were linked.

In hindsight, investigators now see the four attacks were connected, he said.

Anthony Jacobs lived downtown for 10 years and still works there. He was in the area as the investigation was going on Friday morning.

“I understand the pandemic is going on. I think people have a lot of issues right now. I’m not blaming anybody — city government — but I do think we need to focus on what we can do to prevent this,” he said.

“What can be done? I think this is the best time ever; we need to work together and find the solution.”

He worries if something isn’t done, a situation like this may occur again. He also worries the crime may deter people from coming downtown.

“That’s not acceptable for anyone. So let’s find out the solution and work together.”

Officers remained on scene in the downtown core late Friday morning, with a five-block radius at 4 Street east of 1 Street S.W. an active police scene.

The investigation had a major impact on CTrain service Friday morning, with buses replacing trains in many areas. Trains were not servicing the west, northwest or downtown core, according to a tweet from Calgary Transit sent just before 4:30 a.m.

In an update just after 11:30 a.m., Calgary Transit said CTrain service resumed between city hall and Tuscany, and between city hall and 69 Street. However, trains were still not stopping at the 3 Street and 4 Street stations.

Kaitlyn Delacruz said the transit commute into the core was horrible, but acknowledged the service disruptions were necessary for the ongoing investigation.

“It was packed. It was difficult to find any spots. Getting from Pineridge to the downtown core, it was a total nightmare.”

In total, O’Brien said 21 patrol units, HAWCS, K9 units, surveillance teams and investigative units were involved in trying to locate the suspect and ensure public safety.

Anyone with information on the attacks is asked to contact the CPS at 403-266-1234. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.