Man charged with assault in alleged hate crime at Vancouver

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Vancouver police have arrested and charged a man with assault and uttering threats following an alleged hate crime incident on Aug. 20 at a SkyTrain station.

Police say a 23-year-old man and his mother were walking towards the platform at the Broadway-City Hall station when a man tripped the woman. She had accidentally bumped into him moments before while getting off a bus.

“The man angrily made allegedly racist comments towards the woman causing her son to speak to him,” said Transit Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan. “This further enraged the man, which caused a passerby to intervene and ask him to stop speaking that way.”

The suspect, Peter Anthony Lee Gagen, then challenged the son and the passerby to a fight, which prompted the passerby to begin videoing the interaction on his cell phone.

Gagen allegedly charged at the Good Samaritan, grabbing him and pushing him against a glass wall, before leaving the station.

The victim suffered a bleeding scrape to his wrist and bruising, Drennan said.

Transit Police investigated the case along with the VPD and arrested Gagen at a gym in Kitsilano on Thursday.

Gagen, 50, is known to police. He was held in custody overnight and made a court appearance on Friday afternoon.

He has been released on a recognizance with conditions that include not to have any contact with the victims and not to be found in the Broadway-City Hall SkyTrain Station.

Transit Police continue to investigate the matter, liaising with the B.C. hate crimes team.

“While we would never recommend a citizen put him or herself in harm’s way, we commend the passerby/victim for his actions during this incident,” Drennan said.

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