Edmonton’s mayor had a message for the 78-year-old woman who was shoved from an LRT platform onto train tracks Monday night, and he asked the province for help to make the system safer.
“I really felt for her, for her family,” Amarjeet Sohi told CTV News Edmonton.
“You don’t want to have that kind of terrifying experience on our public properties, particularly public transit…It really scares people away from the transit system.”
Sharda Devi, the senior who was attacked, was still in hospital Wednesday and her brother explained that her injured leg may have to be amputated.
“I appreciate what the cops did. I’m really thankful for their efforts to find the person,” Ram Mudalier said.
Police revealed Wednesday afternoon that the suspect was arrested by peace officers on Tuesday at 3 pm at the Churchill LRT Station.
They identified him as 20-year-old Kendall Raine. He is facing aggravated assault charges for the attack on Devi.
Raine was also charged with an assault with a weapon after he allegedly threatened a 53-year-old man at Churchill Station.
“Transit peace officers recognized Raine as the male that was responsible for the attack on the 78-year-old woman at the Jubilee LRT Station the previous evening,” Sgt. Daniel Thames wrote in a release.
“As a result, police were contacted, and Raine was taken into custody for both incidents.”
‘THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT COMMON’
A spokesperson for the local transit union said he couldn’t recall the last time someone was pushed onto LRT tracks in Edmonton. Still, he would welcome more security.
“This is definitely not common. Whoever perpetrated this event, it looks like a one-off,” said Steve Bradshaw of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569.
“Do we need more peace officers out there? Sure we do. We need more of them. All of these things take budget and city council needs to take notice.”
More peace officers and outreach workers dedicated to transit security were announced in February under a new $3.9-million safety plan. That strategy will add a total of six more staff members.
Two of those officers will patrol stations, which Sohi said will help improve the system, but he believes the root causes of crime in and around transit centers are complex and require more help from the provincial government.
“The majority of challenges we’re facing on public transit stem from the fact that we’re not investing enough in supportive housing, we don’t have enough support system for mental health issues and we don’t have enough support system for people experiencing addictions,” he said.
“These are the province’s responsibilities…They need to step up.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Edmonton will receive a total of $67 million from both Alberta and the federal governments to cover transit revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Alison MacKinnon