A man has been charged in connection with apparent random attacks on a Crown prosecutor and a second woman in Vancouver Friday.
Kenyon Thomas Lavallee, 27, is accused of two counts of assault.
According to Vancouver police, the attacks took place around 9 a.m., shortly after one another, near East Cordova and Main streets.
Global News has learned the prosecutor was punched in the face by a suspect, as she was being escorted to the Vancouver Provincial courthouse at 222 Main Street.
She was being escorted by an unarmed security guard as part of Crown counsel’s “safe walk” program.
She was taken to hospital and treated for her injuries.
According to police, the suspect fled and assaulted another woman a short distance away before he was arrested.
Const. Tania Visintin said Friday that it’s believed the two assaults were random and that the suspect and victims were not known to each other.
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“We don’t know what the motive was,” Visintin said. “Early indication does indicate there could be some mental health challenges for the suspect.”
Lavallee had been arrested in late Jan. on warrants for unrelated charges but was released from custody less than two days before the alleged attacks. Court records indicate Lavallee was released from jail on the evening of Jan. 31 after appearing on separate charges related to other incidents in Vancouver last year.
Lavallee is accused of two counts of initiating a false fire alarm on Oct. 16, 2023, and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose on Dec. 2.
A bail hearing Friday evening on the two assault charges was adjourned and Lavallee will remain in custody until an appearance Monday in Vancouver Provincial Court.
On Friday, B.C. Premier David Eby said he was “profoundly disturbed” by the assault.
“I don’t care if you’re Crown counsel or a defense lawyer or a judge or a sheriff or a clerk. Our justice system, to work, needs to ensure that the people who run it are safe — just like our hospitals, just like our bus drivers,” he said. “I am reaching out to our attorney general. I know that she and her team will be looking at what we can do to increase safety.”
– with files from Elizabeth McSheffrey and Rumina Daya
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