U of A student stabbed at LRT station in latest high-profile violent incident on ETS system

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Questions about the safety of Edmonton’s transit system are being renewed after a University of Alberta student was stabbed by a stranger over the weekend.

The student suffered a knife wound to his forearm, after a man attacked him exiting an LRT train at University Station around 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Police say the attacker followed the student, who boarded at Corona Station, after he left the train, and began to harass him. He produced a knife, stabbed the man, then ran off. The suspect was arrested a few blocks away without incident, carrying knives and a container of bear spray.

Postmedia is not identifying the student, who comes from China and does not wish to alarm family back home.

“He was crazy aggressive and emotional and mad at me,” the student said of the attack.

He did not believe the assault was racially motivated, but said he consistently feels unsafe taking transit in Edmonton.


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He was dismayed when bystanders did not stop to help, and by the response times of ETS, University of Alberta Protective Services and city police.

Court records show 30-year-old David Durocher is charged with aggravated assault and two counts of weapons possession. His next court appearance is May 3.

The stabbing is the latest high-profile, violent incident on Edmonton’s transit system.

In March, the city stepped up security at transit facilities following a series of “hate-motivated” attacks on Muslim women. Six such attacks have been reported since December, three of which occurred on Edmonton transit property.

The city also implemented additional security in September 2018, when another University of Alberta student was repeatedly stabbed on the South Campus LRT platform by a man in the midst of a meth binge. The attacker, Mario Bigchild, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison last fall.

That same month, a youth stabbed and nearly killed a bus driver at Mill Woods Transit Centre.

Saturday’s assault comes at a time when Edmonton is trying to increase transit ridership by overhauling bus routes and building the first leg of the Valley Line LRT to Mill Woods.

Earlier this month, city police released an analysis of public safety at LRT stations, which found the severity of crime recorded on the LRT system is three times higher than the city average.

The analysis found a small number of prolific offenders (335 people) were responsible for 38 per cent of all police occurrences within the LRT system.


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In March, Edmonton Transit Service branch manager Carrie Hotton-MacDonald said ETS is operating at 45 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 ridership levels. She blamed some of the recent disorder on the loss of “some of the natural surveillance that comes from having more people in our transit system.”

Mayor Don Iveson said in a news conference Monday that he believes the system is safe, “but I recognize that not everybody feels that way. I’m in a position of considerable privilege in that sense.”

He said there are “cameras everywhere” on the system, in addition to transit peace officers and growing numbers of private security.

He added: “The way in which those resources are being deployed is being looked at and refreshed in order to make sure we have the right people in the right places.”




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