Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie stands at the location on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail where a 49-year-old woman was punched in the face in a random attack on Aug. 7. Eassie says another victim came forward late last week

Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie stands at the location on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail where a 49-year-old woman was punched in the face in a random attack on Aug. 7. Eassie says another victim came forward late last week

Second victim of random assaults in Saanich comes forward

Saanich police believe the same man who sucker-punched a 49-year-old woman is also responsible for another attack

Saanich police believe the same man who sucker-punched a 49-year-old woman on the Galloping Goose trail last Wednesday evening is also responsible for another random attack just minutes earlier.

After police put out information last week about the attack on the Goose, a 26-year-old man contacted investigators and said he was also punched by a stranger Wednesday evening. He said was attacked less than half an hour before and no more than 100 metres away from where the other assault took place.

That man was outside the liquor store at the Red Lion Inn when a young man in a group of four individuals approached him and struck him without any provocation.

The victim, who was with a friend at the time, fled into the liquor store. One of the other men who was with the attacker then approached the victim and apologized for his friend’s behaviour, saying he was intoxicated.

That victim contacted police last Thursday after reading media reports of the other assault, and determined the suspect matched the description of the man who attacked him.

The other assault occurred minutes later, just before 5 p.m., on the trail behind the Red Lion. The suspect left his friends while walking along the Goose, approached the 49-year-old woman as she was walking to work, and punched her in the face without warning. She suffered a significant gash to her nose.

Sgt. Steve Eassie says investigators are still trying to identify the suspect and the other men he was with at the time of the attacks.

“We have canvassed the area for video surveillance and we have had some limited success so far,” Eassie said. “We are hopeful that this video surveillance will allow us to identify all of the parties involved.

“We would urge anyone with information, including those people involved in this incident, to come forward with information. It is likely that his friends were unable to control the actions of their friend.”

The suspect is described as a white man in his late teens or early 20s. He had shoulder-length blonde hair and was wearing shorts and a black T-shirt with white writing or a design on the front.

The second assault happened during rush hour on the Goose and investigators believe there may have been witnesses to either or both attacks. Police are asking anyone with information to call 250-475-4321.

kslavin@saanichnews.com