VANCOUVER - A 31-year-old man with a history of mental illness has been charged with aggravated assault after nine people on Davie Street were struck in the head with a hammer Sunday night, the same day as the city's gay pride parade.
Khalid Alzghoul was charged Monday with 17 offences, including nine counts of assault with a weapon. He was remanded in custody and will likely make another appearance in court today.
Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Jana McGuinness said the incident began around 10:20 p.m. when a man left the Tutti convenience store on Davie without paying for his items.
After leaving the store, the man headed to the Majestic Restaurant and Lounge on Davie, where he struck a man in the head with a ball-peen hammer, knocking him unconscious.
He then hit a doorman and three patrons with the hammer, before hitting one more person as he left the restaurant.
Police allege the man then went to Characters Restaurant, just down the street, where he hit two other women in the head.
A man who was with the two women chased the suspect and tackled him to the ground.
He was then also struck in the head with the hammer, said McGuinness.
Davie is in the heart of Vancouver's gay community.
McGuinness said police are investigating whether the attack was a hate crime.
"We're not sure what the motivation was," she said. "It's so random and so violent and so bizarre."
She said witnesses reported the attacker was ranting following his attacks, but didn't know if he said anything anti-gay.
"He was ranting about a lot of things and what exactly he was saying I have yet to confirm with investigators," she said.
Police arrested Alzghoul at the scene and seized an imitation firearm, two knives and a hammer.
In addition to nine counts of assault with a weapon, Alzghoul has been charged with three counts of assault causing bodily harm, one count of uttering threats, one count of using an imitation firearm and one count of theft under $5,000.
Of the nine victims, six were treated in hospital for injuries sustained in the attacks. Two remained in hospital overnight for observation of more serious head injuries. None of the injuries is considered life threatening.
Gee, I feel a lot safer knowing we have all these retarded gun laws. Too bad someone couldn't have shot his @$$. Mind you only criminals have guns; where are the criminals when you need them?