Vancouver police investigate 2 unprovoked New Year's Eve assaults, including a machete attack

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The Vancouver Police Department says officers responded to a pair of unprovoked attacks as well as multiple weapons calls on New Year's Eve.

Around 6 p.m., a suspect walked up to a stranger near the intersection of Granville and Helmcken streets and slashed the victim across the face with a machete, according to police, who say the attack was unprovoked.

The victim was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A suspect was located, according to Const. Tania Visintin, and taken to jail.

Cruz Thomas Joseph, 33, faces six charges in relation to the incident, including two counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of assault causing bodily harm, robbery and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

He is scheduled to appear in court for those charges on Jan. 5.

An hour later, the department received another call about a random, unprovoked assault.

Visintin said that in this case as well, a suspect walked up to someone they didn't know, put a metal object up to the victim's neck, and said "you are my enemy."

Police say the victim was able to flee and get to safety. However, officers were not able to find the suspect.

Visintin says that officers do receive reports, on occasion, of unprovoked attacks.

"That's quite scary and very traumatizing for these victims," she said.

New Year's Eve was a busy night for the VPD, who say they also responded to multiple weapon calls and 34 COVID-19-related reports about house parties and events.