Family members of a man whose throat was slashed in Surrey on Saturday say his assailant has not given his motive in an attack that RCMP say was an act of terrorism.
Abdul Aziz Qawam was charged with attempted murder, assault occasioning bodily harm, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, all of which are linked to the terrorist group Islamic State.
Details of Kawam’s reappearance in Surrey Provincial Court today have been embargoed.
Chris Jensen, whose partner is the victim’s sister, said the injured man told him “he didn’t know” what the attacker’s motive was, and he didn’t shout or speak.
Jansen said the man told him “without any warning” before the attack, and the family didn’t become aware of the terrorism until after police announced the charges.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Metro Vancouver traffic police say a man pulled out a knife and slashed another man’s throat before being arrested at the scene by traffic officers and Surrey RCMP.
Jensen said the victim, whom he called his brother-in-law, described getting on a bus and turning to help someone he thought was about to fall before he saw the knife.
“He just attacked him,” Jensen said.
The victim struggled with the man with the gun and eventually managed to push the attacker off the bus after being injured.
“It was a heroic act,” Jensen said. “He could have given up when the guy cut his throat, he could have curled up and let the guy attack somebody. But he kept fighting and in the end he probably saved everyone on that bus from getting hurt.”
The victim returned home from the hospital on Tuesday, where Jensen said the stab wounds extended from the back of his neck to near his throat, just below the left side of his jaw.
The nurse caring for the victim said the attack could have been fatal if the knife had been sharper, Jensen said.
He said his brother-in-law had some damage to his vocal cords but the knife did not damage any major tendons or arteries and doctors hoped he will make a full recovery.
Jensen set up a GoFundMe page for the victims, who he said were Aboriginal.
His brother-in-law is “one of the most humble, kind, shy, gentle, loving people you’ll ever meet,” he said on the page.
The victim was unable to perform the physical labor required for the job for at least several weeks, he said. And that’s not even taking into account trauma.
“He was able to move, but emotionally he was in another place,” Jansen said. “He might have trouble the next time he tries to get in the car. He might not trust some of the people around him because they look a lot like this guy.
“He didn’t even want to go to court and meet this man.”
The traffic police said that during their investigation, they discovered that Kavam, who was born in 1995, made several comments that led investigators to notify the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, which then spoke to the Canadian Prosecution Service about the terrorism charges. Consultations were held.
The suspect also allegedly displayed and held a knife to another person’s throat at a bus stop about four blocks from the scene of the slashing, they said. That individual was able to push the attacker away and escape unscathed, police said.
— Chuck Chiang.canadian media
crime surrey terrorism