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UPDATE: Suspect arrested in attack on Surrey bus driver
Metro Vancouver Transit Police say a suspect has been arrested in relation to the assault of a bus driver in Surrey earlier this week.
Shortly after midnight Wednesday (Feb. 5), a 23-year-old man was arrested at his home by Transit Police officers following up on a tip from the public. The attack had been reported by several media outlets and police had released an image of the suspect in hopes of identifying him.
The man in custody is well known to police and was bound by bail conditions relating to a 2012 charges of assaulting a police officer, carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a prohibited weapon without a licence.
New charges of assault, robbery and breach of recognizance are being recommended.
The union representing Lower Mainland transit drivers is offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the person responsible for allegedly assaulting a bus driver in Surrey on Monday night.
"With this reward we're sending a loud message that we're not going to tolerate violence against our members," said Unifor Local 111 president Nathan Woods.
The incident occurred just before 11 p.m. Monday (Feb. 3) near Fraser Highway and 168 Street. Transit Police said the suspect boarded the bus, wearing headphones, singing and swearing. He was allegedly making derogatory comments, including racial slurs, toward the driver.
When the driver made an announcement for passengers not to swear, the suspect punched him and took his sunglasses before running off the bus at the Surrey Central station.
The bus driver followed his alleged attacker to a waiting area, and was punched again. When he returned to his bus, the suspect followed him and hit him a third time.
The driver was treated by paramedics on scene for cuts and abrasions.
B.C. Transit Police released a photo of the suspect yesterday. He appears to be a white male with a short beard, wearing light-coloured track pants, black gloves and a black toque with a white logo on the front. He is described as being in his 30s, between 5'6" and 5'8" tall and 160 pounds.
Woods said there was a 15 per cent increase in assaults on transit drivers in 2013 over the year prior.
"We need to slam the brakes on that," he said, adding 134 were hurt last year.
Unifor represents TransLink and Coast Mountain bus operators. The reward is offered for information leading to the conviction of violent attackers of any Metro Vancouver bus drivers.
Anyone with more information about the recent Surrey attack is asked to call Transit Police at 604-515-8300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477