A 62-year-old man is fighting for his life in hospital after being attacked by a younger man at Vancouver’s Fountainhead Pub in the gay village, Mar 13.
Police say witnesses say words were exchanged at around 8 pm, and the younger man allegedly punched the older man in the face.
Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const Jana McGuinness says the older man fell backwards, and sustained a severe head injury.
“It left him in grave condition,” she says.
Shawn Woodward, 35, has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the incident. He will appear in court Mar 20.
Police have yet to determine if it was a gaybashing.
“We don’t at this early stage have anything to corroborate that,” McGuinness says.
Police are appealing for witnesses to contact investigators. They particularly want to know what was said before the accused allegedly punched the man.
McGuinness says if witnesses come forward with evidence to suggest the attack may be hate-motivated, a parallel investigation will be initiated through the hate crimes unit.
Jack Herman of West Enders Against Violence Everywhere (WEAVE) says the rumours about what happened are rampant.
“If it is a hate crime, it’s a pretty sad commentary that we’re not safe in our own bars,” Herman says.
He says WEAVE is planning a community forum on safety for May 2.
Police are already investigating several other potential gaybashings in the West End.
Police issued a public warning after an assault on a 52-year-old man near Stanley Park’s cruising trails in February.
Police say the park victim was walking through the park just after midnight on Feb 2 when he was approached by another man who allegedly assaulted him without provocation.
The attacker left the victim lying on the ground.
Two weeks later, hate crime investigators said they believe threats made against two men at a Davie St convenience store may have been motivated by hate.
Police say the men were coming out of a convenience store at Davie and Bidwell when a man threatened them with a knife while uttering anti-gay slurs.
Staff Sgt Don Cayer says the man said something like, ‘I hate fags’ while brandishing a weapon that resembled a Swiss Army knife.
No one was injured in that incident.