Two women were assaulted and held at knife-point in a hate-motivated attack in St. Albert this afternoon.
The two victims were sisters out for a walk in the Alderwood Park area of the Akinsdale neighbourhood at 12:35 p.m., when they were attacked by a man yelling racial remarks in what is being deemed a hate-motived crime.
The unknown man, who was wearing a mask, yelled the remarks at the women and then grabbed one woman by the Hijab and pushed her to the ground, knocking her unconscious.
The man pulled out a knife and knocked the second woman to the ground and held her down with a knife against her throat as he continued to threaten her with racial slurs.
The man then ran off in another direction.
The first woman regained consciousness and was taken to the hospital by ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries. The second woman sustained minor injuries but was not taken to the hospital.
St. Albert RCMP and the RCMP police dog services unit searched the area for the suspect but did not locate him.
"In St. Albert you don't see this type of crime. We were taken aback by it," said Cst. MJ Burroughs at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Burroughs encouraged women to proactively walk with others and choose safe routes.
"Everybody needs to be vigilant. We don't see this type of crime. It's new to us," she said.
St. Albert Victim Services will be reaching out to the women and their families to offer support.
The investigation is ongoing and St. Albert RCMP general investigation unit has taken over the file. RCMP are working with the Edmonton Police Service and are treating this as a hate-motivated crime.
“Alberta RCMP work collaboratively with other policing agencies, regardless of jurisdiction, as we stand together against hate and extremism,” said Staff Sgt. Tony Dickens, operation support NCO, in an email release.
St. Albert RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance. If anyone saw a male walking in the Alderwood Park area matching the description below, please contact the detachment at 780-458-7700.
The male suspect is described as Caucasian, standing at about six feet tall, with an average build, and broad shoulders. The man is around 50 years old with short, light-coloured hair, light-coloured eyes, and was wearing dark blue jeans, a navy shirt, and red and white bandana with graffiti lettering.
Burroughs said a composite sketch of the suspect would be released in the next couple days.
Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette