NEWS
03/26/2014 12:14 EDT | Updated 05/25/2014 05:59 EDT

Suspect in Vancouver tattoo parlour attack back on streets

A man charged in a vicious assault on the owner of a Vancouver tattoo parlour has been released from police custody, despite a history of similar behaviour.

Surveillance video allegedly shows Byron Thomas Hobbs, 32, throwing Jo Jo Geronimo, 50, to the ground after she asks him to leave her shop in Tinseltown mall on Monday afternoon. The six-foot-three, 215-pound man is seen kicking the five-foot-two, 125-pound woman twice in the head. She reaches for a chair to defend herself, but he turns it against her and uses it as a weapon. The assault only stops when other employees and a mall security guard step into save her.

Geronimo suffered a swollen cheek and a sore jaw, cuts inside her mouth and on her arms, and bruises on her legs and chest.

"I'm shaking. I'm still scared because he might come back," said Geronimo.

"It's like a brick that would hit me, and then you saw how he kicks me like a doll."

Geronimo said she tried to cancel an appointment with Hobbs, a regular customer, because she had become increasingly worried about him. That led to an argument over a $15 credit — and ultimately the assault.

"I was actually proud of myself. I actually lifted the chair and I was fighting," she said.

Hobbs suspect of assault, theft 

Geronimo is not the only person to have allegedly been attacked by Hobbs. The surveillance video also shows a female security guard being punched in the head as she and another guard hold Hobbs until police arrive.

He has since been charged with assault and assault causing bodily harm.

Hobbs made a brief court appearance on Monday night, but was released even though he is a suspect in two other cases, including the theft of an iPad at Gastown Tattoo's and the assault of a male employee at a Granville Mall shoe store.

"Unfortunately, at this point we can't provide information until someone has been charged with a criminal offence, but it's definitely something we'll look into," said Vancouver police spokesperson Randy Fincham.

Hobbs is scheduled to make another community court appearance on Wednesday. In the meantime, he has been banned from Tinseltown, and most of the tattoo shops in Gastown and on Granville Street.

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