A man living on the streets in Vancouver is being praised as a hero for stepping in to help a woman who was being attacked at a fast-food restaurant in the West End.
James Mickelson was getting his morning coffee at the McDonald’s on Davie Street at Cardero around 9 am Tuesday when he said an altercation broke out between a man and a woman.
The man had been trying to access the washroom, police said.
“When he realized it was occupied, he became very violently frustrated, began kicking the door, and he threw his coffee. This coffee then landed on one of the victims,” Const. Tania Visintin said.
When a woman, a tourist in her 60s, asked the man to leave, Mickelson said the suspect punched her.
“I had to step in and I had to basically take someone down and put him on the counter while he was pointing a butterknife into my neck,” he said.
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“And then I let him up and pushed his cart out (the door). That’s when the knife fell out of his hand and two officers came from Safeway and started to take control of the scene.”
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The man, in his 40s, was arrested and is facing charges of assault with a weapon. He is known to police — and Mickelson.
“This is the second time I’ve put that gentleman to the ground,” he said.
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Mickelson is well known on Davie Street, where many, like artist Sacha Christiano, are applauding his actions.
“Honestly, I’m not surprised,” Christiano said upon hearing about the incident. “The characters in this kind of community — we, surprisingly enough, have a lot of strong morals and impulses, so you would expect something like that. I’m surprised he didn’t hurt him any further, I guess, for such disrespect.”
While police say Vancouver is still seeing an average of four random and unprovoked attacks per day, they urge people not to intervene.
“However, in this case, this man did a very heroic gesture. He stood up to somebody and confronted somebody in a time of danger, so it was very brave of him to do so.”
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Seemingly unfrazed, Mickelson managed to finish his coffee after the incident.
“It’s like I said, you never hit a woman in my presence ’cause you’ll regret it.”
– with files from Lasia Kretzel
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