Saturday March 27, 2021 | NORTH VANCOUVER, BC [Updated 11:55 pm March 27, 2021 | and on March 28, 2021 at 12:50 pm, 3:40 pm, 8 pm]
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
IHIT File: 2021-376 | Anyone with information is asked to contact the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) at 1-877-551-4448 or email email@example.com or through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
In Canada we might think of mass stabbings/shootings as happening in USA or anywhere else. But the same stressors on people who are likely mentally distressed are prevalent in Canada too. Today’s shocking incident in North Vancouver brings this to light.
Seven people were injured and one fatally wounded in a stabbing incident in the Lynn Valley area of North Vancouver today, Saturday March 27. [Six injured persons had wounds of varying severity; woman who died was in her late 20s.]
Police have asked people to not circulate information on social media that might be used in the crime investigation, but it happens nonetheless. Society informs itself in real-time using social media, but journalists were also quickly on the scene.
Reports rolled into police just before 1:40 pm (PDT). Arriving on scene, officers found multiple victims inside the library suffering from stab wounds.
Police to media:
North Vancouver RCMP held a press conference on-site shortly after the suspect was taken away, saying that they are working on investigating as to why this happened. The suspect was apparently known to police and had a criminal record. [The suspect’s identity was made known on Sunday March 28 as Yannick Bandaogo, age 28, who has now been charged with second-degree murder.]
One woman has succumbed to her injuries, it has now been reported, which now makes the police’s work a homicide investigation. [Second-degree murder charge was announced March 28 at 2:17 pm]
“One man has been arrested and is currently in police custody,” it was stated in a release from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) this evening at 7:50 pm. Investigators do not believe there is any ongoing risk to the public.
The other six people injured in the attack are in hospital.
Library branch now closed:
As this is still spring break, families were out and about in the nice weather in the generally quiet neighbourhood. The incident happened outside of the local North Vancouver District Public Library where a book sale was happening, and a nearby Booster Juice smoothie (aka coffee) shop.
The North Vancouver District Public Library closed their doors to the public after the incident happened, and this notice is posted on their website:
“This afternoon a police incident took place outside the Lynn Valley Library’s entrance. We are thinking of everyone affected by this terrible situation, both victims and their families. All library staff and volunteers are safe and are grateful for the quick action of the first responders. The library will remain closed until further notice.”
Also tweeted by the library: “All library staff and volunteers are safe and are grateful for the quick action of the first responders.”
Mass shootings and stabbing are not as common in Canada as in the USA, but stressors brought on by the pandemic over the past year may be part of pressure that pushes people with mentally unstable inclinations to go past their boundaries.
There was the mass shooting in Nova Scotia last year during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that saw a mentally unstable man (who had been planning the event for years evidently) to go on a rampage.
The event today is shocking to everyone, and particularly at such a normally quiet and peaceful setting. As one person posted on Twitter this evening: “A library, a place of learning, peace and community. Not today.”
The attacker evidently stabbed himself after stabbing his victims.
Seeing the warning signs:
The policing system knows about criminals in their files, but it’s unclear how much they keep on top of the activities of the ones who are likely to re-offend. Today’s incident might be found to be that of the system failing to flag behaviour (and ownership of weapons) that was likely to lead to trouble.
The same lack of ‘flagging’ of troubled individuals might be levied at school districts who didn’t seem to see the risk in the killers of Kimberly Proctor (a student within SD62) who in 2010 was murdered by two teen classmates who lured, raped and murdered her, and Reena Virk (a student within SD61) who in 1997 was swarmed by six teens who knew her, and was drowned by being held under water.
At least the Virk case brought some national attention to bullying, which was poorly addressed back at that time in 1997 but the counselling system in schools has generally been slow to catch up to social demand.
Though the SD79 response to the teen fatally stabbed in Duncan earlier this month was to provide immediate support for the broader school community.
A tough job for RCMP:
“We have a tough job but today was especially hard,” said Sgt. Frank Jang, Media Relations Officer, Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) on Twitter around 11 pm this evening, putting the personal touch on a tough policing job.
Comments from BC & federal leadership:
On Twitter around 6 pm this evening, BC Premier John Horgan posted: “Devastated by the news of the attack in North Vancouver. To the victims and their families, all of BC is with you and the North Van community tonight.”
On Twitter around 7:15 pm (Pacific), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted: “My heart is in North Vancouver tonight. To everyone affected by this violent incident in Lynn Valley, know that all Canadians are keeping you in our thoughts and wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.”
The local Member of Parliament for North Vancouver is the Hon Jonathan Wilkinson (Minister of Environment and Climate Change) who posted on Twitter around 5 pm that he had issued a statement: “I issued the following statement on this afternoon’s horrific incident at the Lynn Valley Public Library.” The statement refers to the local library as “a secure place for families to gather” and offered his condolences to the families impacted.
Later this evening, the 9-1-1 service posted on Twitter: “We are deeply saddened by the events in North Vancouver today. Our thoughts are with the victims, families, first responders and everyone affected by this tragic incident.”
Lynn Valley in the news:
It was at the Lynn Valley Care Centre long-term care facility in North Vancouver last year that the first and one of the widest COVID outbreaks (and deaths) occurred, putting the Lynn Valley name and North Vancouver community into the public consciousness.
North Vancouver District Library (including Lynn Valley branch) website
Fatal stabbing of teen in Duncan, with SD79 offering support (March 2, 2021)