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Police seek woman they say is key witness in fatal bus stabbing

Police investigating the stabbing death on a Richmond bus have released a photo of a witness they urgently need to speak to.
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Police investigating the stabbing death on a Richmond bus have released a photo of a witness they urgently need to speak to.

Officers on the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) have reviewed the video surveillance footage inside the bus and have identified a passenger who may have important information about the altercation.

She is thought to have witnessed a random argument and altercation on Tuesday afternoon between two Richmond men, aged 22 and 42, which resulted in the older of the pair being stabbed and later dying in hospital.

The passenger is described as an Asian female wearing sunglasses, a dark hat, white jacket, blue pants and carrying a black purse.

 Photo courtesy IHIT/RCMPPhoto courtesy IHIT/RCMP

“Let us be clear that the woman in the photograph is not under investigation but is rather a potentially crucial witness of the altercation,” said Sgt. Frank Jang, of IHIT.

“If you recognize her, please have her contact IHIT immediately. We also urge any other passengers who have still not spoken to police to come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the IHIT information line at 1-877-551- IHIT (4448), or by email at ihitinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

Should you wish to remain anonymous, please contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

The man suspected of stabbing to death the 42-year-old male passenger on the transit bus has been released from custody, pending further investigation.

Sgt. Frank Jang, of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), told the Richmond News that charges have yet to be laid against the 22-year-old suspect and that “It's still early in the investigation and we're still gathering important evidence.”

Jang said IHIT hopes to go back to Crown prosecutors soon with additional evidence and charge approval.

And he reiterated their appeal for witnesses to the stabbing, which apparently stemmed from a “random argument” on board the southbound bus around 2 p.m. as it neared Aberdeen Centre on No. 3 Road.

Jang earlier said that "Determining what initiated the dispute between the two men involved will be a key priority for our investigators."

IHIT is not yet revealing the names of the victim or the man in custody.

The News reported on Tuesday how police responded to multiple 9-1-1 calls at around 2 p.m. to an incident on the bus, close to No. 3 and Cambie roads, which led to the 42-year-old passenger being taken to hospital in critical condition.

The area had been cordoned off, with witnesses reporting a total of 17 police cars on the scene, including officers with tactical gear.

 A TransLink bus is cordoned off at the Domo gas station on No. 3 Road south of Cambie in Richmond on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Photo submitted by Liz via Richmond NewsA TransLink bus is cordoned off at the Domo gas station on No. 3 Road south of Cambie in Richmond on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Photo submitted by Liz via Richmond News

Another witness, Peter Chen, watched the incident unfold from the platform of Aberdeen Canada Line station.

He told the News that he saw a man being arrested by police, after he stepped off a bus at the Domo gas station.

“He was ordered to get on the ground by officers armed with what looked like rifles,” Chen told the News.

“I heard the sirens before the bus even arrived, so I think the bus driver must have called ahead.