Teacher who confronted B.C. stabbing suspect with umbrella did what is right: sister

·3 min read

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia woman who took on a stabbing suspect with an umbrella always does what she believes is right, her sister says.

Sheloah Klausen, a school teacher in North Vancouver, was at the Lynn Valley public library on Saturday to attend a book fair with her daughter.

Leah Michayluk said when her sister saw a man stab a woman in the library, she ordered her 10-year-old daughter to hide and intervened, wielding only an umbrella.

"She grabbed her umbrella and just started beating him," Michayluk said in an interview on Tuesday. "She's always the type of person who will do what's right to save everybody. She's always been that type of person."

Klausen has injuries to her head and hands, and Michayluk says a bystander who pressed napkins to a cut artery in her sister's neck likely saved her life.

"If it wasn't for that other woman, my sister likely would have been dead. There are many heroes in this story," she said.

Klausen was quickly released from hospital, but Michayluk says the attack has left an impression on her sister and their family's life.

Klausen's daughter has been traumatized by the attack and suffers from nightmares.

One woman was killed in the attack and six people, ranging in age from 22 to 78, were injured.

Klausen is a teacher at Argyle Secondary School, where she has taught classes ranging from biology to gym.

Mark Pearmain, the superintendent of the North Vancouver School District, said Klausen is known as a gregarious and positive teacher who has taken a leadership role in helping develop curriculum.

"She has major passion for her subjects ... and she brings kids along with her passion for the subject," he said.

He said the area, which he described as a "pretty sleepy, quiet place," has been shaken by the attack.

Susanne Till, a single mother of three, has been identified as another of the victims in Saturday's attack, and her friends have launched a fundraising campaign to support her once she leaves hospital.

Kirsten Emerson, a friend of Till's, said in a statement that she is the type of person who is quick to offer help and deliver baked goods to friends.

Brianna Giles, the vice-principal of RNB Dance studio in North Vancouver, has known Till for a decade and saw her being taken to an ambulance on Saturday with injuries to her face.

Giles says Till would do anything for her children, two of whom are enrolled in programs at the studio.

"Good people are hard to come by these days. Susanne is one of the good ones. She volunteers her time when needed, works full time and raises her three amazing children," she said.

Mike Little, the mayor of the District of North Vancouver, said during a news conference on Monday that he's heard many stories of bravery and kindness in the aftermath of the attack.

Little said he's heard about restaurant staff helping the injured, strangers rushing to administer first aid and other acts of compassion and bravery that will be recognized in the coming months.

Michayluk said the response from the local community has been amazing for Klausen and her family.

"It may be a small community, but boy, the heart and soul of that community is huge. They will get through this and they won't let something like this deter them," she said.

Yannick Bandaogo, 28, faces a second-degree murder charge and is due back in court on Thursday.

Michelle Tansey, the acting officer-in-charge of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, told a news conference Monday that police don't believe radicalization was a factor in the attack, and that the suspect did not know the victims.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2021.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrected said Susanne Till's first name was Jacqueline.