Everything changed in a second on a downtown Vancouver street corner last week.
Jay Johnstone was standing on the corner of Burrard and Nelson streets around 5 p.m. on Aug. 29, minding his own business and “totally not paying attention” when he heard a commotion.
“I turn around to see what it is and some dude was being super agro with some other guy randomly,” Johnstone told the Courier. “They obviously didn’t know each other and he was just getting up in his face and decided to clock him, and clocked him hard.”
Johnstone said the man who was punched fell to the ground and was bleeding, while the other man started walking away. Johnstone went over to check on the injured man, and as he was doing so the assailant turned back around.
“He noticed that I was concerned and decided I was an asshole for being concerned and… he decided to come up and start throwing at me as well,” Johnstone said. “He threw two or three, I ducked two of them but I got clocked pretty good by one.”
Johnstone said he did not fight back.
“But after he realized that I wasn’t going to engage back with him he left and attacked somebody else, because by now a crowd is forming and he just chose randomly someone in the crowd and started throwing [punches].”
A third person was injured before the man took off down the street.
Johnstone said police were called and he and the third victim gave statements to officers. He was also told that the third victim ended up at St. Paul’s Hospital.
“It disturbs me that someone can do that and run away and get away with it… the first guy could have been really hurt,” Johnstone said, adding that he has not heard anything about the extent of the man’s injuries.
“As for myself, I hadn’t taken a punch since the third grade so, you know, I’m actually in a weird way grateful for the experience because I was impressed with myself for remaining non-violent,” he said.
Vancouver police media relations officer Const. Steve Addison said investigators are trying to track down the suspect, who is described as a white man in his 30s with short brown hair, a moustache and goatee.
“The assaults appear to have been unprovoked and the victims had minor injuries,” Addison said in an email.