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Man charged with assault after driver, seniors punched in West Van bus attack

Man, 32, arrested nearby with help of police dog
North Shore transit riders wait for their bus in West Vancouver in 2019. | Mike Wakefield, North Shore News files

A 32-year-old man is facing several assault charges after two elderly women were punched in the head and the driver of a West Vancouver Transit bus was punched repeatedly in a seemingly random attack on strangers Tuesday afternoon.

West Vancouver Police were called out to a report of a man attacking people on a transit bus around 1:15 p.m. as it headed east past Eagle Harbour, in the 5700 block of Marine Drive, near Thunderbird Marina.

Witnesses reported a man on the bus became angry when the driver didn’t stop immediately after he hit the buzzer. The suspect then punched the two elderly women who were passengers on the bus in the head. One of the women was in her 70s and one was in her 80s, and both were strangers to the attacker, said Sgt. Mark McLean of the West Vancouver Police Department.

The suspect then repeatedly punched the bus driver before fleeing the bus.

“It was more than a single punch,” said McLean.

After running away from the bus, the man went to a nearby West Vancouver home where a family member lives and assaulted two more women there.

Police arrived on the scene and there was a confrontation, said McLean. Officers then used a police dog to take the man into custody.

Fortunately, none of the victims suffered significant injuries, said McLean, adding they were treated at the scene by ambulance paramedics.

Police don’t know yet if mental illness or substance use could be factors in the assaults.

Quinn Dalton Barry of no fixed address has now been charged with four counts of assault and one count of break and enter. He has been remanded in custody until his next court appearance Sept. 26.

Police are continuing to investigate what might have prompted the attacks, said McLean.

Stranger attacks in West Vancouver are extremely rare, he said.

“It’s not like you’re driving through the downtown core. It was quite shocking for the people on the bus,” he said.

It isn’t the first time this year that stranger attacks have happened on the West Vancouver Transit system.

In July, a local real estate agent raised concerns after she was hit by another passenger after getting off the bus.

In April, the Amalgamated Transit Union 134, representing Blue Bus drivers, voiced concerns after a bloody fight broke out on the 250 bus near Marine Drive and 20th Street after a man was told to stop harassing other passengers.

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