Vancouver taxi disputes leave Surrey man dead, another facing charges

A Surrey man is dead and another is facing charges following two incidents in Vancouver involving taxis. - File
A Surrey man is dead and another is facing charges following two incidents in Vancouver involving taxis.
— image credit: File

Two separate stabbings involving taxis in Vancouver Sunday have left one Surrey man dead, and another facing charges.

In one, 28-year-old Robert Tyson Smith has been identified as Vancouver's first homicide victim of 2014, after a incident shortly after 11 p.m. at Granville Street and Georgia.

Police say a taxi driver got into a dispute with two men and the cab's passenger got out and joined in.

"The argument quickly escalated into a fight between the two men and the passenger, and ended with the passenger being stabbed," said Sgt. Randy Fincham, of the Vancouver Police Department.

"When police arrived, they found the victim unconscious on the sidewalk suffering from a life-threatening stab wound. He was rushed to hospital, where he later died of his injuries."

Police arrested two men, but they have both been released pending further investigation.

Police have asked for any additional witnesses to contact the Vancouver Police Homicide Unit at 604-717-2500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

In an apparently unrelated stabbing earlier that day, police say two men were taken to hospital with serious injuries after an altercation at Davie and Hamilton.

According to police, two men flagged down a cab just after 1:30 a.m. and a fight broke out when two other men claimed the cab was theirs.

Police located two suspects a short distance away, and arrested one of them.

Vithna Andrew Va, 24, is charged with two counts of assault causing bodily harm, two counts of assault with a weapon and one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Va has been released pending his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Feb. 19 at 9 a.m. at Vancouver’s Downtown Community Court.


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