A suspect has been arrested and charged in connection with three separate assaults at three different SkyTrain stations – including one where a man was rendered unconscious.
Metro Vancouver Transit Police (MVTP) said in a release on Wednesday that the first incident occurred on April 9, at approximately 8 pm, when the suspect entered Surrey Central SkyTrain Station and allegedly, “purposely and without provocation, body-checked a SkyTrain Attendant working at the station.” Police said the victim described the incident as a “hockey check,” and although he was thrown off balance, he was able to regain his footing.
In the second incident, which occurred on April 14, at about 4:35 pm, the suspect followed the victim at Scott Road SkyTrain Station. “While the victim stood at the Compass Vending Machine, the suspect allegedly ran toward and violently body checked the unsuspecting victim so hard that he was thrown to the ground,” police said.
The latest incident occurred on April 17, at approximately 7:55 pm. The suspect allegedly shoulder-checked the victim at Gateway SkyTrain Station. Police said he then tried to instigate a fight with the victim, allegedly encouraging the victim to hit him, while striking the victim on the chest.
Police said the victim and his girlfriend tried to leave the scene, but the suspect blocked their path. At that point, the victim’s girlfriend called 911.
“Fearful for his safety, the victim did his best to run from the suspect but was pulled back as the suspect grabbed his backpack,” said MVTP. “A security guard from an adjacent building tried to assist the victim, but the suspect was allegedly able to wrap his arm around the victim’s neck, choking him until he lost consciousness. The suspect then fled the area.”
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Despite the incident, police said the victim sustained only minor injuries.
Now, 44-year-old Benjamin James McBeath has been arrested and charged with two counts of Assault and one count of Assault by Choking.
MVTP said McBeath is well-known to police, and has been remanded in custody, and was scheduled to appear in court this morning.
“Everyone has the right to feel safe while using transit [and] violence of any kind will never be tolerated,” said MVTP Sgt. Clint Hampton.
He called the April 17 incident particularly concerning. The level of violence “used against a complete stranger for no apparent reason is of particular concern.”
The suspect’s alleged actions “could have had dire consequences for the victims and were completely abhorrent,” said Hampton. “A traumatic event like this can have a lasting, negative psychological impact on any person.”
In the wake of these events, MVTP are reminding the public that if they see anything on transit that makes them feel unsafe, or are worried for the safety of someone else, to contact MVTP directly at 87-77-77 or call 604-515-8300.