Up to 15 teenagers were hanging out in the area when two men in the group started arguing on Friday. After one was knocked to the ground and assaulted, one of the attackers was stabbed
Some of the youths present during a stabbing and assault on the Galloping Goose Trail near downtown Westshore on Friday night were also involved in an incident where a man was stabbed at a Langford gas station in mid-October, West Shore RCMP said.
Although the defendants are different in each case, Cpl. Nancy Saggar said several of the youths involved were present in both incidents, and some are not attending school despite being school-aged.
“We have identified that several of the young people who were present and witnesses in the crowd to the first stabbing that took place a few weeks ago were also witnesses here during the second one,” she said. “So we know there is a loose relationship.”
Police arrested two youths after they stabbed and assaulted near the 3000 block of Jacklin Road around 9:50 p.m. Friday. Officers called to the scene discovered that up to 15 youths aged between 14 and 17 were hanging out in the area when two men in the group started arguing.
As one of them walked away, he was knocked to the ground and attacked by at least three other men, and suffered a broken nose and abrasions.
During the assault, one of the main attackers was stabbed by one of the other youths present at the scene. The youth who was stabbed has been hospitalized and is expected to recover.
The youth allegedly responsible for the attack was identified by the police and was arrested for aggravated assault. Another youth was arrested for assault causing bodily harm in connection with the initial attack.
Saggar said police are still looking to identify other youths involved in the incident. “We are asking young people who witnessed this incident and have not yet spoken to the police to please come forward and provide their information.”
She said it was the band members themselves who called the police.
In mid-October, police were called to nearby 7-Eleven to a report that several intoxicated youths brandished knives and threatened to stab patrons. Two customers were beaten by the youths, who then left.
Police were later informed that a man had been stabbed at the Esso station across Jacklin Road. They found the injured man and determined that he had also been hit with a truncheon.
After police released surveillance photos, two young suspects were identified.
Having two recent incidents involving stabbing is “really concerning,” Saggar said, adding that investigators are looking into any possible gang connections.
“We’ve had several stray calls, that kind of thing that’s going on in relation to that,” she said. “Why do young people go out so late? Do their parents know where they are?
“Rest assured, each time we met young people in this type of situation, their parents were notified.
Saggar said anyone who sees anything unusual and alarming should contact police with their concerns.
She said police have a youth liaison officer involved in the investigation and are in communication with local high schools.
Meaghan Yetman, who has lived in the area for about 30 years – since she was a child – said she was very concerned about the recent incidents.
“Probably over the last 10 years, with everything growing, there’s more and more stuff like that, so I’m definitely hesitant to go on the Galloping Goose now,” she said.
Having her five-month-old daughter Aesedai with her makes her even more suspicious. “As a young family, it’s a shame, it’s disappointing,” Yetman said.
The arrested youths were released with curfews and have court dates in early January.
Langford County Lillian Szpak called the recent incidents involving young people “shocking” and said it’s an important topic for the community to address.
Szpak said settlement staff regularly patrol the Galloping Goose and the parks, adding that she is a big supporter of the Village Initiative, a network of more than 40 organizations committed to ensuring the health and development of children, youth and families in Sooke and on the West Shore.
Call West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 for information on Friday’s assault and stabbing.