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Police 'upping patrols' after teen fatally stabbed on Metro Vancouver bus

Surrey RCMP call the stabbings "disturbing."
Sgt. Szakacs with Transit Police patrols Brighouse Station.

After three violent incidents on Metro Vancouver's transit system — including the death of a teenage boy — police are increasing patrols to keep the public safe. 

Metro Vancouver Transit Police tells Glacier Media they are now deploying teams to areas that have seen an increase in criminal activity. 

"Metro Vancouver Transit Police is working with our police partners to determine the factors that led to each of the incidents reported in recent days,” says Const. Amanda Steed. 

The latest attack occurred in Surrey near the King George SkyTrain Station, just before 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night. Police say a 17-year-old boy got into an altercation and was stabbed by a person on a bus. The teen later died in hospital.

No arrests have been made and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has been called to investigate.

One day earlier, on Monday, a person was attacked and stabbed at the Columbia SkyTrain Station in New Westminster at about 11 p.m. Police say an altercation took place between two groups of people inside the station. The person was taken to the hospital. Police confirm the victim and suspect did not know each other. 

There was another stabbing on the morning of April 1, when a man’s throat was slashed while riding a transit bus in Surrey. Transit Police and Surrey RCMP quickly located the suspect, who was arrested for attempted murder. Police say it was a disturbing and unprovoked assault.

Court documents said the alleged action was "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group, to with; the Islamic State.”

Abdul Aziz Kawam, the suspect, appeared in Surrey provincial court on April 3 and will be held in custody pending his next court appearance. Kawam is charged with attempted murder, assault causing bodily harm, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, all in association with the Islamic State terrorist group.

The man who was stabbed was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

Steed says there's nothing linking the stabbings to each other.

"Several of these incidents are still in the very early stages of an investigation, but there are no common causes that have been identified at this time,” she told Glacier Media.

Surrey RCMP Cpl. Vanessa Munn called the stabbings "disturbing."

“And now have resulted in the tragic loss of a 17-year-old,” she said.

Munn reiterated that the incidents are not related. 

“The circumstances surrounding the events differ greatly, we recognize that these violent acts can generate fear in the community,” she said.

As a result of the increased crime, Surrey RCMP is working closely with Metro Vancouver Transit Police.

"We have a dedicated unit, the Mobile Street Enforcement Team (MSET), who patrol by bike and foot around busy centres like malls and around major transit hubs,” said Munn. 

Surrey RCMP will be “upping patrols through a joint project alongside Transit Police" given the recent violent incidents.

Transit Police have a number you can text

Transit Police are encouraging the public to save a number on their phones: 87-77-77.

People can text that number 24/7 should they have a safety concern. Along with the text option, there are yellow emergency strips on SkyTrains and emergency phones on platforms. 

Passengers can also inform bus drivers, SkyTrain attendants, marine attendants, or any transit employee about a safety concern.

Transit Police officers respond to a vast area of over 1,800 square kilometres and are deployed to areas based on crime statistics. 

"That generally keeps us close to SkyTrain; however, Transit Police respond to incidents on all modes of transit,” says Steed.