By Lethbridge Herald on March 4, 2020.
A security guard at Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site was shot in the face, but not with a gun or other common weapon, although one possibly just as deadly.
The weapon used in Tuesday’s assault was a syringe, which contained blood and “other fluids,” police reported Wednesday.
“This is a very serious incident,” Sgt. Bruce Hagel said during a media briefing at the Lethbridge police station. And not just for staff at the SCS.
“As first responders, whether it’s police, fire, EMS, we do get exposed to those types of things at times,” Hagel said. “In this case these are fortunately quite rare as far as purposely exposing somebody; like in this case they were shot with a syringe. So again, thankfully that doesn’t happen all the time, but as far as the exposure to bodily fluids and things like that, yeah it does happen often.”
Just after 6 a.m. police responded to a report that a security guard working at the SCS in the 1000 block of 1 Avenue South had been assaulted by a client.
Security approached a man in the waiting area after he began to inject himself, and since drug use is only permitted in the consumption area, the security guard told the man to stop and go into one of the injection rooms. The man became upset and shot the contents of the syringe into the security guard’s face before being taken into custody.
The 22-year-old security guard was treated at Chinook Regional Hospital and released. He will, however, require ongoing treatment as a result of the exposure. Other than blood, Hagel didn’t know what other fluids were in the syringe.
Police arrested the suspect at the SCS and seized the syringe.
Wade Allan Nicholas Cross Child, 29, is charged with aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon. Cross Child was initially released with numerous conditions, but less than an hour later he was arrested again in connection to a theft at a city store. He was in custody Wednesday waiting for a judicial interim release hearing, and is scheduled to appear in court on the assault charges May 26.
Hagel said police are regularly called to the SCS and surrounding area to deal with issues, and while they may not respond to concerns every day, they may also respond multiple times in a single day. Occasionally calls to the site are for violence-related offences, although not as serious as Tuesday’s incident.
“There have been violent offences that we’ve responded to, for sure; people with weapons, fights, those kinds of things. But as far as a very similar incident like this with a syringe…no.”
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