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Vancouver police say a suspect who was armed with a knife and chasing people on a city street had only been released from prison five days before his arrest.

Police say the 46-year-old man may also have been responsible for five other violent attacks in the downtown core on Wednesday.

Chief Adam Palmer says the man had been serving a sentence in Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for uttering threats against his family and federal politicians before he was released on probation on March 15.

A victim in one of the stabbings, a 61-year-old man, was taken to hospital and treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Palmer says the 46-year-old suspect has been charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats and may face other charges.

He says the man appears to have mental health challenges.

The chief told a news conference on Thursday that most people with mental health challenges will never have an interaction with police.

“But there’s also a segment at the extreme end which are the ones that we will quite often deal with that are scary people who should be probably institutionalized in some kind of psychiatric facility or a prison and society should be protected from them.”

Palmer says police have a strong case for the man to be held in custody and they expect that he will be.

“That is up to Crown council and the judicial system to hold somebody in custody. We recommend people be held in custody all the time, but there are many instances where they are released and that is out of our hands, even though we would like to see them in custody.”

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