NEWS

West Hotel residents demand better security after double stabbing leaves 2 dead

03/15/2015 07:04 EDT | Updated 05/15/2015 05:59 EDT
Residents of the West Hotel at 488 Carrall St. are demanding better security after two men were stabbed to death in the hotel Saturday night.

Vancouver Police were called to the single room occupancy (SRO) hotel shortly before 9:00 p.m. PT. When they arrived, officers found a 24-year-old man who had been stabbed. 

He died in the hotel.

Police said residents directed them to a second stabbing victim in the building. A 37-year-old man was rushed to hospital, but couldn't be saved.

Resident say this is just the latest in a number of violent incidents. Four days ago a man was stabbed in the elevator.

Residents declare hotel unsafe

On Sunday the hotel's occupants held a news conference and declared their building unsafe. 

They say it has been going downhill for the last three years after it was sold, but claim the deterioration has accelerated since Nov. 2014 when a new Christian charitable organization that relies mainly on volunteers took over hotel management.

Since the beginning of the year, longtime resident Dan Zimmerman says he has reported 17 separate altercations including the earlier stabbing.

"We've got to get 24 hour staff and we've got to get a professional management company that knows how to secure a building down," he told reporters outside the hotel.

Community organizer Wendy Pedersen says the hotel has become a dangerous place for its vulnerable residents, 

"These people deserve safety. The people that live in this hotel are in danger, and this is clearly the result of the lack of investment in these SROs."

Hotel management promises more security

Julie Roberts is the president of the Community Builders Group, the charitable organization that took over hotel management in November. She says the on-duty desk clerk was making his rounds when the attack happened.

"Our staff were on site, but they were doing a building sweep to check for people that shouldn't be there and didn't see them (the two men involved in the stabbing) come through the front door," she said. 

Roberts says her group is making plans to increase security.

"It is becoming a bigger problem securing the building, so we are going to increase security until we can come up with a long term solution."

Vancouver police say both victims are known to them. However, the motive for the stabbing is unclear and police still aren't sure whether they are looking for a suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call the VPD Homicide Unit at 604-717-2500 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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