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VIDEO: White Rock Mayor urges ‘extreme caution’ after 2 stabbings in 3 days

City, IHIT, RCMP offer more information about two stabbings on the waterfront

White Rock Mayor Megan Knight was to have been delivering a State of the City address to city movers and shakers on Wednesday (April 24) morning.

Instead she found herself facing questions from news media at a press conference at city hall, hastily arranged for Wednesday afternoon, in response to two stabbings on the waterfront in the past three days — one of which claimed the life of the victim last night.

Knight urged residents to “exercise caution and remain vigilant” at the conference, which was also attended by several city councillors, chief administrative officer Guillermo Ferrero, and representatives from IHIT (Integrated Homicide Investigation Team) and the White Rock RCMP.

“Our priority is the safety and well-being of our city,” Knight said. “Rest assured we are dedicated to keeping you informed and taking every possible measure to uphold order in our community.”

READ MORE: Man dead after 2 people stabbed in 2 days in White Rock

READ MORE: Newcomer to Canada victim of weekend stabbing in White Rock

Shortly before 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, White Rock RCMP received a report of a man suffering from apparent stab wounds in the 15400-block of Marine Drive. Despite lifesaving measures provided by first responders on scene, the person did not survive, an RCMP release noted.

It’s the second stabbing this week in White Rock, following an attack on the promenade — just 500 or so metres from Tuesday night’s attack — on Sunday night.

READ MORE: 1 sent to hospital after stabbing on White Rock promenade

The suspect in both cases is described as a Black man in a grey hoodie and hat.

“Although there are apparent similarities between the two at this time, the RCMP cannot confirm that they are related,” Knight said. “Please be assured that investigators are diligently exploring all possible leads.”

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Rob Dixon confirmed police are investigating to determine whether there’s a “conclusive link” between the two stabbings.

“Undoubtedly, these violent incidents have raised concerns surrounding safety in our community, and we want to assure the public that their safety is our priority,” Dixon said. “Patrols in the area have been increased, and our officers will be working with IHIT to identify the suspects.”

When questioned whether the city’s residents should exercise an extra degree of caution, given the suspect in both incidents is still at large, Dixon reiterated that public safety is the RCMP’s priority.

“I think it’s always a good idea to exercise a certain degree of caution in these situations for sure, but I don’t think this is a situation where people have to dramatically alter their lives,” he said.

“We’re dedicated to public safety in the city of White Rock.”

IHIT Sgt. Timothy Pierotti, in answering questions about suspected motive or how the incident happened, couldn’t clarify if the second stabbing was a random or targeted.

“We’re still looking to determine exactly what did happen.”

White Rock RCMP and IHIT are requesting that anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or who was taking photos or video in the area, to contact police. They also encouraged drivers — especially Tesla owners or drivers of other vehicles equipped with cameras — to check their footage if they were driving anywhere near the area.

Asked by Peace Arch News what impact the stabbing incidents would have on planning for White Rock’s many summer events on the waterfront such as Sea Festival, the Concerts at the Pier and the new monthly night market at Memorial Park, Dixon said increased police presence will definitely be a factor.

“At this point we will be increasing patrols in the waterfront area — normally we start that around May when our events start to happen, … but we will be increasing patrols following these two incidents.”

Ferrero said that, following direction from council last September, staff have been calling for quotes from suppliers of closed circuit television cameras for possible installation on Marine Drive.

“So we’ll be bringing a report to council on May 15 with some options in regard to the CCTV cameras,” he said.

Talking to PAN earlier in the day, Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford said he supported the idea of CCTV cameras on the waterfront “100 per cent.”

“We need every tool in the tool in the toolbox right now, but it shouldn’t be something cities have to pay for alone — the province should be contributing to the cost,” he said, adding that he planned to raise the issue during Wednesday’s question period in the legislature.

He said he feels that the provincial government is missing the mark in making sure police have sufficient resources, and that criminals are not being released onto the streets to commit more crime.

“It’s time we gave more thought to the victims of crime and not the people who are committing the crime,” he added.

“We’re allowing chaos on the streets, whether it’s vandalism, assault, theft or murder, and I’m sick and tired of it. The fact is people are not feeling safe in their communities.

“It needs to stop, but it won’t stop until the NDP government realizes it has a crisis on its hands when it comes to public safety.”

– Peace Arch News staff