Published in 24 Hours Vancouver | October 14, 2013 | Circulation: 280,000+
Police used a battering ram to force their way into a Downtown Eastside rooming house suite Monday after an assault suspect barricaded himself into his room, ending an eight-hour standoff around 12.30 p.m.
An unidentified 53-year-old man locked himself into his fifth-floor room at the Roosevelt Hotel at 166 E. Hastings around 4:30 a.m. after allegedly punching a female resident in the face.
Police said he had a history of mental health issues and was prone to “unprovoked and random” attacks. Mental health workers and negotiators tried to coax him out unsuccessfully.
“He gets pretty violent, and he’s on my floor,” a neighbour who identified herself only as Dee told 24 hours. “He’s got mental problems and should be under supervision, that’s how bad his episodes get.”
Vancouver Police Department spokesman Const. Brian Montague said the man has a “fairly lengthy” criminal history going back to the 1970s, and “some serious mental health concerns.”
“We’re afraid his mental health is deteriorating,” he said. “That’s why we can’t just walk away here … He may go out and reoffend.”
In September, police chief Jim Chu warned of a “mental health crisis on our streets … These people require health care, support and medical treatment, not the justice system.”