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Don't assume mental illness in a random attack: Jang

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver Police say it’s too soon to link mental illness to the city’s latest random attack.

Jordan Degroot, 39, has been charged with aggravated assault in this fourth high-profile case since December. A 30-year-old woman was stabbed inside a 7-Eleven store in downtown Vancouver early Sunday

City Councillor Kerry Jang, who’s a UBC psychiatry professor, urges people not to jump to conclusions that mental health is behind this latest case.

“People assume that [the suspects] are mentally ill and that is often not the case. Generally, it is not the case that these folks are mentally ill, that they are suffering from something else.”

But Jang argues it’s clear that services are lacking.

“Mental health services really has been the poor relative to medical health services across this province, and the province, for example, has promised a mental health plan now for a number of decades, and we’ve not seen anything yet.”

This latest case follows incidents at a West End apartment, on Keefer Street, and on the Downtown Eastside. Mental illness is suspected in at least two of those cases.