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Vancouver police release photos of suspect in alleged gaybashing

Lesbian couple attacked exiting Hastings bus at Commercial Drive

Vancouver police have released photos of the suspect they would like to question in connection with an assault on a lesbian couple exiting a bus at Commercial Drive in September. Credit: Crime Stoppers

Ali Matson and Jacqueline Clarke say a man attacked them from behind as he followed them off the bus in September.

Vancouver police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man alleged to have attacked a lesbian couple near the corner of Hastings Street and Commercial Drive just after 6pm on Sept 18.

Surveillance footage from TransLink shows the man boarding a #135 bus westbound at approximately 5:15pm at Hastings and Kensington in Burnaby. It also shows Ali Matson and her girlfriend, Jacqueline Clarke, boarding the bus at 6pm at Hastings and Renfrew.

The women allege the man followed them when they exited the bus at Commercial Drive, where he allegedly attacked them.

“He grabbed me by the shoulder, and he punched me in the face with all his body strength,” Matson claims. “My nose was bleeding everywhere, and he gave me two black eyes. He was not holding back at all.”

Matson and Clarke believe they were attacked because of their sexual orientation after they exchanged a kiss and were flirting during the bus ride.

“He just did not like to see two girls kissing,” Matson suggests.

The alleged attacker is described as a Caucasian male, 35 to 40 years old, six feet tall and 220 pounds with short black-and-grey hair and facial stubble. He wore a black T-shirt, jeans and black shoes.

When reached for an update on the case, the Vancouver Police Department's Constable Randy Fincham says the investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

Fincham says that police take the allegation that the crime was motivated by the women’s sexual orientation very seriously and that the VPD’s hate crimes unit has reviewed the file.

Anyone able to identify the suspect is asked to call the police at 604-717-3321, referencing file #13-155332. Or they can report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.