More details emerged yesterday regarding a tense hostage-taking incident that rattled a Downtown East Side community centre late Tuesday night.
Assault charges have now been laid against 24-year-old Kyle Hepworth Jackson, although there appears to be a lack of any clear motivation for the alleged attack that has been portrayed as both random and premeditated.
Speaking to reporters, Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre spokesman Steve Bouchard said the attacker was “not known to the child, family, or staff” who frequent the East Hastings complex and had seemingly visited the centre for the sole purpose of instigating a hostage-taking.
Though VPD admit the man was “known to police” for a history of violent offences, there has been some confusion regarding his mental state, with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson declaring him to have suffered from a “history of mental health issues”— an accusation the VPD were unwilling to confirm.
Ray-Cam officials, for their part, have been eager to downplay the episode as an “isolated incident” that does not necessitate a need for either increased security at the centre, or fear in the larger neighbourhood.
Not all members of the community are convinced, however.
“No matter how many times they say it’s safe, it’s still not safe,” said Roja Seddia, a local mother who has both worked at and attended the centre in the past.
“I’d definitely wait a while before taking my child back in there.”