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West end Vancouver residents stand outside an apartment complex after a mass stabbing on the evening of Jan. 31, 2013, as police investigate the scene. (Daniel Bitonti/The Globe and Mail)
West end Vancouver residents stand outside an apartment complex after a mass stabbing on the evening of Jan. 31, 2013, as police investigate the scene. (Daniel Bitonti/The Globe and Mail)

‘People are pretty unsettled’ after mass stabbings Add to ...

The day after seven people were stabbed in a random attack that ranged through an apartment building in the city’s tranquil West End, the detail that lingered for one young resident was what he saw every time he took the elevator in the seven-storey complex.

“There’s still blood in the elevator and all over the walls,” the 18-year-old said, recalling how residents gathered weeping outside the building – a sense of shock that resonated through a city where many live in places similar to the one where the incident occurred on Thursday night.

“People are pretty unsettled.”

Jerome Bonneric, 33, of Vancouver, was arrested at the scene. He is charged with four counts aggravated assault, four counts of assault with a weapon, three counts of common assault and one count of assaulting a police officer.

It is believed Mr. Bonneric, who is not known to police, was staying with a friend in the building, said Vancouver Police Sergeant Randy Fincham. He will remain in custody until his court appearance on Monday.

While gang shootings have become a sad routine in the region, some people found this crime more acutely disturbing, because police said it was entirely random, with no links between the suspect and his victims.

A report of a suppertime incident drew police to the building on a quiet, tree-lined street in the 1200-block of Barclay Street on Thursday. Inside, they found seven people wounded – six severely enough to be taken to hospital. An officer was injured taking a 33-year-old suspect into custody near the building.

Police said the random attack left multiple victims on multiple floors.

In the aftermath, officers stationed on each floor confined residents to their apartments for hours while the investigation was under way.

Two victims remained in hospital late Friday; one is stable and the other "in very serious condition," Sgt. Fincham said. 

Throughout Friday afternoon, police came and went from the building, its entrance was ringed by barricades and yellow police tape. Four units of the complex were locked down.

At one point, three VPD victims’ services representatives went into the building, one carrying a bundle of pamphlets. They left without comment after about an hour.

A man who identified himself as a member of the strata, or residents committee, said the group would meet to consider security issues in the building. “We just need to allow people to heal and move forward,” he told reporters, declining to elaborate or identify himself.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson described the situation as a “disturbing” exception to crime trends in his city. “Although violent crime in Vancouver has dropped significantly in recent years, these seemingly random violent incidents are a sickening reminder that much work remains to be done,” he said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the victims and their families as the police investigation continues.”

Mr. Robertson went further in an interview with radio station News1130.

“It is a sickening feeling when you hear that kind of thing hit, with that many people affected out of the blue like that. We’ll look forward to hearing more, learning more, and hearing what kinds of steps can be taken to prevent it from happening again.”

The 18-year-old resident called the incident an unpleasant surprise. “I always thought the West End to be a really good neighbourhood.”

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