A woman allegedly had her thumb “chewed off” during an assault on public transit on her and two friends in Vancouver last week.
The three young women got on the SkyTrain last Wednesday and sat across from the suspect, Metro Vancouver transit police said in a statement to VICE News.
One of the victim’s relatives posted about the attack on Instagram and said the man lost his temper and “lashed out” after her niece and two friends asked him to stop.
“He managed to put one of them in a headlock, the 2nd friend’s thumb chewed off and punched my niece in the eye and pulled her shirt off,” the post says. “The one girl that had her thumb ‘chewed’ did require surgery and tetanus shots. They were able to save her thumb but not the nail section.”
According to the aunt, the three girls are OK and recovering at home, but are “traumatized.”
Transit police confirmed the incident, first reported by Daily Hive, adding that the suspect allegedly kicked the woman whom he had put in a headlock and pulled her hair.
According to a statement by the transit police, a bystander who attempted to help the women was bitten by the assailant, while another triggered the emergency strip in the train, alerting SkyTrain control. The distraction gave the women a chance to break free and move to safety, the statement says.
When the train was stopped at a nearby station, passengers tried to hold the suspect, but he managed to break free and flee, transit police say. Police tracked down and arrested the man shortly after.
“One victim suffered injuries to their nail bed and the other victims suffered soft tissue injuries including bruising and swelling,” the statement says.
Transit police said they have recommended multiple counts of assault and assault causing bodily harm for an unnamed man, 33, from New Westminster, about 20 kilometres southwest of Vancouver.
The suspect has been released from custody and will appear in court on Sept. 26. He’s not allowed to contact the victims.
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